music is math…

Archive for March, 2009

Various Live Noises


Thought I’d kick this all off with a brief celebration of live music.  There really are very few comparable experiences to enjoying your favourite band in a sweaty room or muddy field surrounded by thousands of complete strangers.  For me a good live set seems to blur into one moment if you enjoy it, leaving you with little memory of what was actually played because you get so caught up in it all.  The real test of a good gig comes as you leave, tired and with a deafening buzz in your ears, barely saying a word as you revel in what you just witnessed.  All very cathartic.

Everything in its Right Place

1. Radiohead – Exit Music (For a Film)

A truly unique and mind blowing song.  I was lucky enough to see Radiohead live last summer in Glasgow and, though they didn’t play this, the sounds they managed to produce live were unbelievable.  Watch Jonny Greenwood here, the catalyst for many a great Radiohead moment, switching between the eery mellotron choir sound and abusing his guitar to create a crescendo before that fuzz bass kicks in.  Incredible.

2. Boards of Canada – (Untitled)

An amateur audio recording taken from a rare live set for Warp’s 10th birthday.  Just listen to that sound!  I can’t believe there are people talking over this in the recording.  This song captures a sound as enchanting and mysterious as BoC themselves, a complete one off.

3. Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone

Dylan casually creates one of the artistic statements of the century with this response to being heckled.  His command for the band the “play it fucking loud” stands as a motto for live music, especially if you’re about to rip into one of the greatest songs in popular music’s brief history.  Essentially, just get up on stage, do your thing and if it’s good people will appreciate it.  I’d love to know if Mr “Judas!” bought a copy of Bringing it All Back Home, but regardless of whether he did or not it’s pretty clear who’s laughing now.

4. Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe

Pete Townshend said something along the lines of “If you didn’t see Hendrix live, you can’t appreciate him properly.  Too fucking bad.”  On this evidence we who missed out reluctantly have to accept that he is right.  If this footage is new to you, minimise the window and listen to the solos.  Not bad, right?  Now watch it and imagine seeing that for real.

5. R.E.M. – E-Bow the Letter (with Thom Yorke)

Well, all I can say is that I’m glad this exists.  First of all it just looks really 90s, all so gloriously nostalgic, carefree and strangely familiar (even though I was about ten at the time and probably didn’t even know what Tibet was).  Secondly, the sight of Michael Stipe in a skirt reeling off his stream of conciousness lyrics while Thom Yorke flails around singing Patti Smith’s emotive backing vocals with a brilliantly urgent delivery.  And they hug at the end.  Perfect.