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Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool


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LeshLush
Joined: Oct 19 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: May 08 2016 11:48 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Midway through my first listen. Download this now, guys. Holy crap is this amazing.
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Preng
Title: All right, that's cool!
Joined: Jan 11 2010
Location: Accounting Dept.
PostPosted: May 09 2016 03:45 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Nice, a new release! Will check it out later this week, thanks for the heads up!

If anyone has any Radiohead recommendations beyond OK Computer and Kid A, let me know. I need to further explore their discography.
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LeshLush
Joined: Oct 19 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: May 09 2016 07:46 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Pablo Honey is a 90s-band guitar rock album. It's the one that has Creep on it.

The Bends is a big step towards their OK Computer sound, but still sounds kind of like the band that made Pablo Honey. It's probably ignored because of the sea-change that was the next two albums, OK Computer and Kid A.


Amnesiac sounds just like Kid A, which is no surprise, because they recorded two albums worth of material all at once, and put half of it on Kid A, and the rest on Amnesiac. It's probably just a bit more listener friendly.

Hail to the Thief retains many of the electronic sounds from Kid A/Amnesiac, but is much more rocking and features more traditional song structures and guitar riffs. It's an anti-Bush/anti-War on Terror concept album. A lot of people would place it near the bottom of their more modern albums, but it's still solid. Not the first one to dive into when expanding your collection.

In Rainbows is a synthesis of all of their sounds. Guitars, songs structured like songs, a mastery of electronics and avant-garde production techniques. Some of their most beautiful moments are on this record. Most fans put it in the conversation for their best album along with OK Computer or Kid A.

The King of Limbs. Commonly cited as either their worst album or their worst since Pablo Honey. Until Sunday, it was actually my favorite, but what do I know. It's got a lot of sampling, tape loops, stronger emphasis on atmosphere than songwriting. A lot of the songs are so dependent on studio trickery that they are impossible to play live without substantial changes in arrangement. A lot of people were put off by what they thought was an impenetrable production style. I think the entire album is amazing. There's also an album called The King of Limbs: Live from the Basement that a lot of people really like who hate the studio versions.

A Moon Shaped Pool. As of my second listen, this is my new favorite Radiohead album. A lot of people are saying the same thing. Who knows how we'll feel in a year when the hype dies down? I personally think it will have staying power.
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Preng
Title: All right, that's cool!
Joined: Jan 11 2010
Location: Accounting Dept.
PostPosted: May 09 2016 09:27 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Much, much respect for the advice. In Rainbows sounds groovy, I'll check that one out along with A Moon Shaped Pool. Thanks mang!
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Cameron
Title: :O O:
Joined: Feb 01 2008
Location: St. Louis, MO
PostPosted: May 11 2016 03:37 am Reply with quote Back to top

Not gonna lie, I've only listened to it all the way through twice but so far it's a total snoozer. It just kind of sounds like everything I didn't like about The King of Limbs but with some added strings for vague emotional effect. Sometimes they do make the songs sound more emotive, sometimes they just sound contrived and manipulative, like a shitty romantic comedy that tries to trick me into feeling emotional depth that simply isn't there (not unlike listening to a Coldplay album, actually). Which is to say, it feels like a sequel I never wanted to a Radiohead album I never liked. Just drab and dry and bland and lazy and forgettable.

At first I thought I didn't like the album because it doesn't showcase the emotional highs and lows I know Radiohead can reach (especially with In Rainbows and pretty much everything before it), but Thom Yorke's solo album with Atoms for Peace is a lot more muted and subtle and I loved it, so this new album just sounds like wasted potential. Moon Shaped Pool is easily my third-least favorite Radiohead album, after The King of Limbs and Pablo Honey.

I will say that I enjoy the second half of the album a lot more than the first half. "Identikit" and everything after it is a billion times better than everything before it.

And Prengles, my personal favorite Radiohead albums are In Rainbows and Hail to the Thief, so I guess I'd start with one of those.

Lesh, I love you, but there's a whole bunch about your Radiohead post that I disagree with, namely:
LeshLush wrote:
Pablo Honey is a 90s-band guitar rock album. It's the one that has Creep on it.

I feel like this is misleading, if only because you didn't mention how awful most Radiohead fans find it. For anyone who hasn't heard it, I would just listen to "Blow Out" and pretend the rest of the album doesn't exist like everyone else does.
LeshLush wrote:
It's probably ignored because of the sea-change that was the next two albums, OK Computer and Kid A.

It probably isn't heralded like OK Computer and Kid A because of how much change both of them incorporated, but I don't know any Radiohead fans who outright ignore it.
LeshLush wrote:
Amnesiac sounds just like Kid A (...) It's probably just a bit more listener friendly.

I actually disagree with both of these statements. While they were both recorded at the same time, I feel like a lot of the material on Amnesiac is a lot more angular and abstract than the music on Kid A (see: "Like Spinning Plates", "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors"), so to describe it as listener friendly seems misleading.
LeshLush wrote:
Not the first one to dive into when expanding your collection.

I would argue against this, if only because Hail to the Thief is actually the first Radiohead album I ever heard, and I'm glad it I did. I think a lot of my love for it stems from sentimental value, but I really love the album because of how much it showcases more or less all of the sonic territory they explored up to that point, and foreshadowed what they'd be doing with In Rainbows. The sheer variety of the album made it a pretty good stepping stone into other Radiohead albums.
LeshLush wrote:
avant-garde production techniques

As much as In Rainbows is my favorite Radiohead album, I'm not sure I would describe anything on it as "avant-garde". It isn't really pushing any envelopes - just a collection of fantastically written, immediately memorable songs. I'll also say that it actually has some of my least favorite production of any Radiohead album - while it has a lot of "oomph", I feel like some of the dynamics of the music on the album get lost in the fact that a lot of the instruments sound like they're occupying the exact same space in the mix. I just wish the production was more dynamic - that the highs were more discernible from the lows. The production doesn't exactly sound like a Nickelback album, but I could probably make a more complicated mix of the album after a couple of hours messing around with it in FruityLoops.
LeshLush wrote:
A lot of people were put off by what they thought was an impenetrable production style.

I think, if anything, I disagreed with this the most. The problem with The King of Limbs is that the production style is too penetrable - half of the album just sounds like a bunch of preset Yamaha keyboard drum loops and Thom Yorke crooning over a bunch of four-chord melodies repeated ad nauseum. I think the phrase "studio trickery" is confusing as well - The King of Limbs sounds like the whole thing was recorded in about two hours before they called it a day. The King of Limbs is one of my least favorite albums because of how much complexity there isn't - there just isn't a lot to gather or feel from the bare-bones arrangements and recordings of the songs. Take a song like "Morning Mr. Magpie" or "Lotus Flower" - pleasant, soothing, even, but definitely not anything to return to.


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LeshLush
Joined: Oct 19 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: May 11 2016 08:28 am Reply with quote Back to top

Cam, I think that it's very possible you and I mean something very different when we say "production." I was once a staff engineer at RCA Studio A, so I may have a very different understanding of that phrase than someone with a different experience.

I don't want to get into too much of a back and forth block quote war, but I will say this: your complaints about In Rainbows' dynamics, EQ decisions, etc. are exactly what make the production decisions avant-garde, not the writing or memorability of the songs, or the fact that you think you could make the mix more "complicated" (whatever that means) by playing with the stems on your laptop. Also, using my formerly professional ears, I will say that the idea The King of Limbs was recorded in two hours is definitely untenable. There is an incredible amount of work that went into that record. Take it from someone who has actually produced and engineered tracks in the studio, that stuff is insane.

As for the rest, de gustibus non est disputandum.
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@om*d
Title: Dorakyura
Joined: Jul 10 2010
Location: Castlevania
PostPosted: May 11 2016 11:27 am Reply with quote Back to top

I usually do not comment on music posts because they tend to get way too argumentative and personal taste is a MAJOR factor in consideration of what people think about a song/album/artist. That said, you can always tell the difference between someone who mostly listens to music and someone who has produced/plays music. As someone who has played multiple instruments and recorded and produced my own music and others for 20 years, In Rainbows is most definitely an avant-garde album. It is great that you have strong opinions about music, Cam, but your arguments definitely come from your own personal taste and not knowledge of production or what would be considered listener friendly to the masses (not personal preference listener friendly, which is an important distinction here that you overlooked).

It's great to have opinions and different tastes in music but it is important to also acknowledge that instead of taking issue with technicalities that you don't fully understand, which clearly shows in this case. It is alright to say, "I like this and I think it sounds good.", but you come across as idiotic when you claim that you could mess around on fruity loops and make it "more complicated." Like multi-millionaire musicians with access to experts, their own vast amount of knowledge and high end software and production techniques you probably would have a hard time learning don't know EXACTLY what they're doing, lol.

I guess I just really needed a rant this morning, because I don't know why I bothered typing all of that up as it will probably fall on deaf ears. Basically the same reason why I try not to give my opinion to my musician friends when they ask me, because people have their own ideas that seem to oppose logic when it comes to the technical aspects of making music.


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Cameron
Title: :O O:
Joined: Feb 01 2008
Location: St. Louis, MO
PostPosted: May 12 2016 01:20 am Reply with quote Back to top

I realize that some of my comments that I made last night may have been a bit much, so I apologize for that. However, I will say that the fact that I have no experience in production doesn't make my opinion any less valid. I don't have to work in TV to know that most TV shows on the CW use really generic, formulaic cinematography, for example. It's like when people tell me I can't really appreciate jazz music because I can't play an instrument. I may not know what goes into production, but that doesn't make it any less unappealing to me.

With that being said, I'll admit that my lack of knowledge regarding production makes my previous statements subjective opinion rather than any kind of objective interpretation, which is why I take back the severity of some of my comments. Lesh, I will concede that your background in production has given you a different interpretation of the production, though. It may sound overly simplistic to me, but that doesn't necessarily make it so. I will also say that, in my previous post, I think I was getting overall production confused with dynamic range (which I wish both In Rainbows and TKOL had more of). Again, it sounds contradictory for me to say this given that In Rainbows is both my favorite Radiohead album and one of my favorite albums of one time, but the best way I can articulate my feelings on it are that I wish the guitars, drums, and bass were more "separated" from each other in the mix, if that makes any sense. The songs "Bodysnatchers" and "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" come to mind.

@om*d wrote:
As someone who has played multiple instruments and recorded and produced my own music and others for 20 years, In Rainbows is most definitely an avant-garde album. It is great that you have strong opinions about music, Cam, but your arguments definitely come from your own personal taste and not knowledge of production or what would be considered listener friendly to the masses (not personal preference listener friendly, which is an important distinction here that you overlooked).

I guess my confusion lies in the fact that most music I've heard described as "avant-garde" doesn't sound like Radiohead in any fashion. Most "avant-garde" music I've heard consists of drone/industrial acts like Coil or more progressive Jazz artists. It seems like the production of In Rainbows sounds so compressed (and let me know if I'm using that word incorrectly) that, as much as I love it, it's about as experimental as any other mainstream rock album.
@om*d wrote:
It is alright to say, "I like this and I think it sounds good.", but you come across as idiotic when you claim that you could mess around on fruity loops and make it "more complicated." Like multi-millionaire musicians with access to experts, their own vast amount of knowledge and high end software and production techniques you probably would have a hard time learning don't know EXACTLY what they're doing, lol.
What I intended to say with my previous statement (and didn't really succeed with) was that all of the technical ability in the world doesn't necessarily make any body of music "good". I don't have to know how to play guitar to acknowledge that, while Yngwie Malmsteen is an incredibly talented guitar player, most of his music is melodically uninteresting. The fact that the people who produced the King of Limbs and In Rainbows knew exactly what their doing doesn't make its quality any better (or worse).
@om*d wrote:
I guess I just really needed a rant this morning, because I don't know why I bothered typing all of that up as it will probably fall on deaf ears.
I'm not sure if you use the phrase "deaf ears" as a way of automatically discounting anything I say when I disagree with you, but I assure you that I am open to your opinion.


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@om*d
Title: Dorakyura
Joined: Jul 10 2010
Location: Castlevania
PostPosted: May 12 2016 10:46 am Reply with quote Back to top

Not trying to discount anything you say by using the phrase "deaf ears," I was just meaning that it's another one of my rambling rants that doesn't really add anything substantive to the discussion and I don't expect anyone to give a shit about what my opinion is.

My point was basically that musical taste and opinion is highly subjective, so it is rather pointless to get into a discussion on something where there isn't a need to find a common ground.


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Preng
Title: All right, that's cool!
Joined: Jan 11 2010
Location: Accounting Dept.
PostPosted: May 13 2016 02:54 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Just finished my first listen of A Moon Shaped Pool. On the whole, I enjoyed it and will buy a copy sometime soon. Burn the Witch, Daydreaming, The Numbers, Present Tense, and True Love Waits were my favorite tracks (in no particular order). I love the smaller, subtle details strewn across the album, and will listen for more in the future.

The album's pacing seems a touch odd. Burn the Witch kicks things off with such high energy, and if memory serves all other tracks were much slower or middling. Nothing wrong with that, just not quite what I'm familiar with. Perhaps the cliche slow intros used in most albums has rubbed off on me.

Didn't much care for Decks Dark or Glass Eyes, but 2 tracks of 11 ain't bad at all.

Will check out In Rainbows and Hail to the Thief sometime soon.

---

For anyone else who may be interested, you can freely and legally stream A Moon Shaped Pool here.
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LeshLush
Joined: Oct 19 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: Nov 13 2016 10:03 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Checking back into this thread to say that I've been on a huge Hail to the Thief kick lately. Myxomatosis and A Wolf at the Door have been really hitting the spot. Cameron, if I came across as dismissive of Hail to the Thief in my album breakdown for Preng, it's because I probably didn't give this album enough credit. Really been climbing my personally charts these past two weeks.
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Cameron
Title: :O O:
Joined: Feb 01 2008
Location: St. Louis, MO
PostPosted: Feb 19 2017 04:31 am Reply with quote Back to top

Now that I'm done being salty about the fact that this album isn't just another rehash of In Rainbows or Hail to the Thief like I wanted when it originally came out, I will say that I super dig the first half (or so) of A Moon Shaped Pool. "Glass Eyes" and "Daydreaming" are easily two of my favorite songs in their entire discography and the first half of the album is the exact flavor of somber and striking that I miss from their older stuff. "Desert Island Disk" is still incredibly hard to take seriously, however, and everything after "Identikit" just kind of sounds like they stopped trying and thought anyone would listen to anything they finished off the album with based on name recognition alone.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if the album were an EP consisting of the first three tracks, "Ful Stop", "Glass Eyes" and "Identikit", it'd probably be somewhere in the 9/10 range for me, but the latter half of the album makes it feel like an "eh, 6/10".
LeshLush wrote:
Checking back into this thread to say that I've been on a huge Hail to the Thief kick lately. Myxomatosis and A Wolf at the Door have been really hitting the spot. Cameron, if I came across as dismissive of Hail to the Thief in my album breakdown for Preng, it's because I probably didn't give this album enough credit. Really been climbing my personally charts these past two weeks.

I first heard Hail to the Thief at a really pivotal point in my childhood (I think around 7th grade or so), so the fact that it's kind of a Radiohead grab-bag really had an impact on me. It's got a lot of catharsis between the many, many emotions it covers. "Where I End and You Begin", "Myxomatosis", and "I Will" are definitely my favorites.


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