Radiohead, TKOL RMX 1234567

Michaelangelo Matos

By Michaelangelo Matos

on 10.11.11 in Reviews

It’s hilarious how people still think Radiohead is a rock band. Ever since Kid A, guitar worshipers have spit on the ground and wondered when the hell Thom and friends are going to finally get back to the six-string stuff, but The King of Limbs is the clearest evidence yet that they’ve gone to the other side completely, and are now an electronic group with guitars, the kind of act where remixes are par for the course, rather than some sort of olive branch to a musical world not like its own. Most of Limbs sounds more like a series of parts ready to be moved around than a finished statement, anyway, and clearly, the band thinks so, because they issued seven 12-inches featuring remixes of each track, here conveniently collected together.

Remixing an album that’s more like a series of parts ready to be moved

Tasteful fuckers that they are, Radiohead cool-hunted a double-fistful of early-’10s electronic-dance cult favorites — click through a few pages on FACT Magazine sometime and you’ll locate every contributor here. And what do you know — a few times, the remixers do more with the tracks than the group itself. The most obvious example is “Feral”: only rave-throwback prince Lone grabbed it (all the others are claimed twice or more), but when he bolsters the original’s breakbeat bed and layers it with snatches of Thom Yorke’s vocal and his own lambent synths and guitar plucks, questions of who did what to whom first fall to the wayside.

“Bloom” is retouched five times, twice by the same person: Mark Pritchard, who turns it into underwater dub as Harmonic 313 and takes it faster and buzzier under his own name. “Morning Mr. Magpie” gets treated to a pair of invigorating drum-machine workouts by Pearson Sound and Yorke collaborators Modeselektor (who gender-reverse it as “Good Evening Mrs. Magpie”). They could have just called this compilation The King of Limbs, too, because it’s meant for moving them.