The cat's been out of the bag for well over a decade now: Thom Yorke loves electronic music. But between DJ appearances at the Low End Theory and on the Boiler Room, a veritable Hessle Audio cut finding its way onto The King of Limbs ("Feral") and booking FaltyDL and Pearson Sound for Radiohead opening sets, he's shown both that he's got a taste for the dancier stuff and that he's doing more than just indulging an interest of the week.
With Atoms for Peace, his collaboration with the Red Hot Chili Peppers' bass maestro Flea, Radiohead sixth man Nigel Godrich and drummers Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco, Yorke is taking a stab at making the stuff himself, perhaps more overtly than he did on his still-fantastic 2006 solo album The Eraser. Their debut release, on Modeselektor's shit-hot 50Weapons, featured two housey remixes that hit like a minimalist, stretched-out take on the music that made Yorke famous—less adventurous, less intricate, but sonically airtight and undeniably promising.
"Default," the first non-remix from AfP to see the light of day, isn't as strong (or at least as memorable) a song as much of what made it on The Eraser, and it's admittedly not at the forefront of what people are doing in bass music. But what AfP bring to the table, likely the result of having a production genius in Nigel Godrich on board, is the kind of high-end sound design it's hard to pull off in a bedroom. Where so many electronic records send every sound right down the middle, AfP build an immaculately immersive soundstage on this not-quite-bass-music pop tune: smooth-as-silk low-end holds down the wide middle, noisy electronics and choice cymbal hits rattle on the sidelines and Yorke's whispered, reverb-y vocals fill in the negative space. It's admittedly not much of a departure from latter-day Radiohead, though in its floor-ready sheen and compositional directness, it points less to the masters of art-rock than a collection of muses half Yorke's age.
Buy Atoms for Peace - Default at
Tracklist: Atoms for Peace - Default A Default