Sunday, September 25, 2005

Post-Wagnerian Radiohead

As I type I am listening to moody chromaticism- suspended chords in tonal ambiguity. This band's song Sail to the Moon is excellent music, (and this is coming from someone who values harmonic progressions higher than anything else in music). During the piece there is this perfect chromatic shift, exquisite, expressive and worthy of an early Schoenberg. The lyrics fit the tone of the music (or the other way around, i suppose). But lyrics are secondary- and the music is a combination of half-diminished and augmented chords, even hinting at the whole-tone scale. Truly ethereal and beautiful.

I’m currently listening to the uplifting tones of the song We suck young blood. More monotonous, less interesting in terms of musical ideas, but more experimental- still- there’s that moody chromaticism otherwise unheard-of in popular music. It makes them sound "dark" as my friend puts it. Chromaticism is still an easy method of constructing interesting chordal combinations, and this isn’t Bach, it isn’t Beethoven, but its still very good, and worthy of serious listening.

2 comments:

BryantManning said...

I thought Radiohead's zenith in musicality was 'Knives Out,' a record with a riff that actually lands on the neopolitan -- uncommon to say the least.

but those guys lack equillibrium in the serious/lighthearted dept. their agon with the beatles, which isn't even debatable, begins with a discussion of 'a day in the life' right on through 'you know my name, look up the number.'

still eminently listenable music.

M. Keiser said...

A day in my life was always my favorite. I dont know knives out, actually, so thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out. Good for them for using the neopolitain!