If you have seen Thom Yorke’s spazzy dance to Lotus Flower or the fight sequences in Harry Potter’s Goblets of Fire then you already know something of the choreography of Wayne McGregor.
The weirdness of the Yorke video is what first directed me to McGregor and hence to his Random Dance company. I am now officially a big fan after seeing an hour-long performance by ten Random dancers as part of this year’s Ravenna Festival.
Entity is a marvellously inventive piece of action theatre and the ideas that lie behind the work are equally fascinating.
The project evolved from McGregor’s interest in cognitive science and its relationship with “the technology of the body”.
Specifically he consulted scientists to try to gain a deeper understanding what happens in the brain during the non verbal communication that lies at the heart of creating a new dance work. In other words, he wanted to understand the process of choreography more fully from a cognitive perspective. Continue reading
The high quality of Thom Yorke’s song writing for Radiohead tempts many artists to try their own versions but more often than not these fail to capture the magic of the original.
Peter Gabriel’s orchestral guitar-free revamp of Street Spirit (Fade Out) on his Scratch My Back album last year is practically unrecognisable from the stirring anthem-esque version on The Bends. It’s as if he is acknowledging the impossibility of the task and a few plaintive moans don’t carry the emotional weight he strives for. A brave attempt but a failure in my book.
Two covers that do work are both interpretations that translate the indie-rock into the genre of acoustic folk.
The stripped back makeover of Black Star performed live in 2005 by Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings does what any great cover song should and makes you rethink the original completely. I hadn’t really fully appreciated the lyrics to this song about a relationship hitting crisis point before I heard this, but Gillian Welch delivers “the troubled words of a troubled mind” with a precision that captures the mood of quiet desperation perfectly.
Not quite in the same league, but impressive in its own way is Patrick Joseph and Lucas Martinez’ bold beats-free remodelling of Idioteque, one of the standout tracks from Kid A. Joseph is a young singer songwriter from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania now based in LA, who has just self-released his debut album Antiques. Martinez is a guitarist from Pasadena, California. The track has not yet been released but according to Martinez’ Life Tracked In Sound blog, it will be out on an EP called Stranger’s Shoes this summer.
The new Thriller it isn’t!
Whatever else you might have expected from a video tie-in for the new album -The King of Limbs – few would have imagined we’d be seeing a mad solo dance by Thom Yorke.
Radiohead could have commissioned a moody piece to go with this song (Lotus Flower) to make them look cool. Instead I really like how they continually strive to wrong-foot the public’s preconceptions about the band. Continue reading
Up until Tuesday 17th June 2008 I had never seen Radiohead in concert. In many ways I still haven’t despite the fact that I was present at the first of their two Italian dates at the Arena Civica in Milan.
I think it would be more accurate to say that I was in the stadium while Radiohead were performing.
To go as far as to say that I saw them would be like saying I have seen Saudi Arabia just because I saw that country once from the window of an airplane.
There were around 18,000 at the show braving the deluge that had been threatening all day but cruelly coincided almost precisely with the appearance of support act Bat For Lashes. Continue reading