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‘Radiohead’s’ Colin Greenwood : Progressive Rock Update With Brad Houser

by Brad Houser

Hello again, Bass-o-philes…

Let us together contemplate the sublime bliss that is ………..Radiohead.

Released in 2007, their album “In Rainbows” has infected my hard-drive very thoroughly. Bassist Colin Greenwood hovers like a ghost underneath the proceedings to the point of near-invisibility. This man is seamlessly integrated into the music. The Perfect Bassist. The kind of bass player that most musicians, who are not bass players, want in THEIR band. Many bassists who are more chops-oriented might actually think that his playing sucks. A long time ago a younger, more aggressive me might have made such a grievous error.

Colin Greenwood Interview on MTV (Canada), September 7, 2008

Now to the music…

“Nude.” Check out Mr.Greenwood’s top-of-the-neck part played in octaves. It carries the song. Genius. How did he think of that?

I would suggest going to YouTube and typing in “Radiohead Live From The Basement.” The band went into a studio and filmed a bunch of songs, playing live through high-quality audio gear. These guys are so accomplished that it tempts one to run around yelling, “They’re TOO GOOD!!!! It’s not fair!!! These men fully deserve every penny (shilling, pound, dollar, euro, etc.) that they have been paid. Sometimes capitalism and the “free market” actually get it right.

Next track, “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi.” Marvel at the majestic simplicity of his 5-note motif. Like “listening” to great architecture. I stand awestruck. Really. All done on what looks to be new-ish American Standard Precision Bass. Plain vanilla. No trickery or widgets involved. Genius.

Interestingly, “In Rainbows” was initially released as a download-only album with no price tag. Fans could pay as much or as little as they wished. Eventually it was released as a CD. I bought mine at Starbucks. LOL.

Bass playing aside, this music is the sound of angels. No more harps. They have been traded in for quirky Gibsons and Fenders. It is aural ecstasy. The melodies are otherworldly. The harmonies are sophisticated yet “simple.” Something I had not previously realized is that vocalist Thom Yorke is a fantastic guitarist. Ed O’Brien and Colin’s brother Jonny are the other guitar Zen Masters of the group. Drummer Phil Selway is………….Perfect.

“All I Need.” A beautiful circular repeating theme… the bass and Fender Rhodes piano are melded together as one. I could theoretically go on for days about these guys and their Masterwork. Give them a listen.
To me Radiohead embodies all that is good in rock. I love this band. Until next time…

Visit online at www.radiohead.com

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