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Lotus Flower - The Ex-Communicator

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March 10th, 2011


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09:29 am - Lotus Flower
I must do a long post at some point about King of Limbs, the new Radiohead album. I have found that I can't listen to it unless i give full attention. If I don't concentrate, it just goes away without me hearing it (the other day H came into the house, and it was gone). If I do listen with full attention, I have to let a feeling of being pushed away wash through me. Then when I have got through those two barriers, it does touch me, but I haven't quite constructed a model of it in my head yet, so that's why I haven't posted about it.

I am also aware that if I didn't trust Radiohead so much I might not have got through those two barriers. But credit to them for using that trust, to bring people through. Credit also for the millions of ordinary people who are prepared to follow on that journey, and therefore support this difficult project. If they didn't sell millions it would be harder to make it happen.

Thom Yorke released a YouTube video of himself, dancing to Lotus Flower. It has been watched a lot. The comments vary quite a lot ('not as good as Coldplay', 'this is gay' WTF? - i know i shouldn't read them).

I think the dancing is like the music. It's complex, it's not one thing. I was talking before about Clay Shirkey's comment that difficult art won't be valued any more, and I was saying that au contraire there needs to be a creative boiler-room where difficult art brews away (mixed metaphor alert) even if it's not popular.

I think Radiohead have made a good effort, probably a successful effort, to open up the boiler room to a mass audience, and break down that divide. They have traded in their 1990s superstar status for that, and the gamble has more or less worked out for them and us.

'Talking about music is like dancing about architecture'? Who said that - Google attributes it to both Steve Martin and Elvis Costello (ed - I bet Hano is right that it was Lester Bangs). In any case - what is 'talking about dancing about in a garage'? Not sure but this French guy sure tries.

I think you can hold several thoughts in your mind at the same time. That it's funny or serious. This is someone quite old, who doesn't give a fuck. It's inclusive and/or exclusive.

I admire this. I couldn't really argue with someone who said it was bullshit. But I think this is real stuff, worth trying to get through to.

ETA: Boiler room Mashups -

to Dancing Queen: 'Anybody could be that guy'.
Jumping Jack Flash: surprisingly hot
MC Hammer
Footloose: had me grinning like a loon

Tumblr with 150 derivative works

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:hano
Date:March 10th, 2011 09:44 am (UTC)
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'dancing about architecture' was, I think, written by Lester Bangs. Frank Zappa used to quote it a lot which is why it's sometimes mistakenly attributed to him.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:March 10th, 2011 09:51 am (UTC)
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Google lied to me! Lester Bangs sounds much more likely than steve martin. Thanks, will edit
[User Picture]
From:katlinel
Date:March 10th, 2011 11:28 am (UTC)
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There's something about that video to Lotus Flower which, for me, is about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

At the Saturday night disco at Redemption, the DJ played a Radiohead track. I can't remember which one (S would), and it makes for a very difference dance experience - it instantly feels like it's an internal experience, calling on something from within, rather than the outside connections, despite still being in the same room, on the same floor, with the same people. It isn't necessarily a better dance experience, just a very different one, and it's an interesting experience to swap from one to another.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:March 10th, 2011 11:46 am (UTC)
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That's a very good way of putting it. I have no idea how they do it, but the music goes in the ear and sets of some sort of eruption of my subconscious.
[User Picture]
From:espresso_addict
Date:March 10th, 2011 01:54 pm (UTC)
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I don't listen to 'pop' music at all, but I think the contemporary composers I really like (Reich, Glass, Adams) in their later works are doing much the same opening up of the boiler room of the classical tradition to a modern mass audience.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:March 10th, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I agree, and I think Radiohead have a lot in common with them
[User Picture]
From:espresso_addict
Date:March 10th, 2011 02:13 pm (UTC)
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I shall have to give them a try.
[User Picture]
From:iainjclark
Date:March 10th, 2011 10:44 pm (UTC)
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You can add Peter Serafinowicz to the seeming endless list of parodies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8pthCtQyoE
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:March 10th, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)
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So many. I know this meme has been around for weeks but I haven't been able to bring myself to look at it until today because of all the stuff I heard about it. I thought, oh god what's he done now?

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