10 copos de nieve. Especial Radiohead; La intrahistoria de nuestras canciones favoritas.

Climbing up the walls

This page, titled 'stuck in a frozen lake', appeared on radiohead.com during the recording of OK Computer and features a text by Thom with notes about songs that were around then.

 climbing up the walls*both managers and record company are nervous about such a nasty sound coming out of the speakers. this is a good sign.

....>>>>i like the idea of you listening to our recordings with your head resting gently in emptiness. or before going out. or when you've come back. i dont like the scientists breaking down its molecular structure and teaching it in O level chemistry i ont want to have expain it but it worries me stupid. there is a lot of crying goes into making things.<<<<.... the masters tell us that there is an aspect of our minds that is its fundamental basis, a state called "the ground of the ordinary mind." It functions like a storehouse, in which the imprints of past actions caused by our negative emotions are all store like seeds. when the right conditions arise, they germinate and manifest as circumstances and situations in our lives. if we have a habit of thinking in a particular pattern, positive or negative, then these tendencies will be triggered and provoked very easily and recurr and go on recurring. With constant repetition our inclinations and habits become steadily more entr ched and continue, increasing and gathering power even when we sleep. This is how they come to determine our life, our death our rebirth."

Sixteen violins were used to make the noise towards the end of the track. The band didn't actually intend the song to be this scary, but it sort of turned out that way.

When played live, Jonny uses a portable radio which he tunes in to various stations of speaking before the gig - and during it, he swaps through the stations while sticking the output through a hell of a lot of effects.
This recording comes from the may 28th 1997 BBC Evening Session and was released on the NME Awards 98 compilation.

"Phil is presently putting down drums on 'how to disappear' - we're doing a demo of the song to present the song to an 'orchestral fella'. we've kind of shirked away from strings in the past as they seem to have been recorded in the same manner for the last 30 years (ever since the beatles). jonny is particularly keen to use an orchestra but not in the standard cliched way........more like the end of 'climbing up the walls'. thom's vocal on it was jaw-dropping. it's very strange to be playing that song again as we played it frequently on the ok computer tour.......................... suddenly you're back there. 



This song was originally recorded in one day for inclusion on the Bosnian Warchild benefit LP Help. Despite many other major British artists contributing to the album, this song was immediately recognised by the critics as the most outstanding track. For this reason, it was chosen to head the Help EP that was released. However, due to Radio One denying the EP any airplay on the grounds that it was "listener unfriendly", it never reached any higher than 53 in the charts.

After much debate, the band chose to include the track on OK Computer, as they thought that it was one of the best songs they had ever written, and "it fits exactly where it is on the album". The band did try to remix the track for the third album but found they couldn't improve on it, therefore the versions on Help and OK Computer are identical.

The song was originally more politically explicit, but the finished product, which describes a plane crash, heavily reflects Thom Yorke’s fear of long-distance travel, the subject of other Radiohead numbers such as Airbag.



Everything in its right place

 Thom has explained in interviews that the major inspiration for this track was a breakdown he had right after Radiohead's gig at the NEC in Birmingham on november 19th 1997.

This page appeared in radiohead.com during the Kid A period under the title 'Fore!'. During this period Thom would usually start forming lyrics to a song by pulling cut up lines out of a top hat, and this following text appears to be a source not only for this song, but also for 'Cuttooth', where the line "I will live a wallpaper life" would end up slightly modified. The text itself was probably written shortly after the NEC incident, as it contains references to Thom's hearing damage that day: 

i woke upp sucking a lemon evrything in its right place there are two colours in my head what was that you tried to say? hearing damage/evrything in its place. yesterday things just got on top of me but today evrything is in its right place. yesterday i woke up sucking a lemon but today i am the walking fucking cash machine. the caucasian scratching himselfsilly. ihavev foundno miracle cure. i will live a WALLPAPER life!
with evrything is in its right place. yes. nothing but blue skies from now on. no ghosts no skeletons.
you see yesterday i wasnt hearing straight but today everything is in its right place i have learnt the art of self deduction. i take a deep breath and walk away.
and everything is in its right place.
who will have the last in line? i am not hearing straight
i cannot be hearing straight

i must completely stone deaf square pegs into round holes anything you want to do he was a good man they said he was a gentleman they said even when life spat in his face he put
everything back in its right place "
Thom was apparently very keen on releasing 'Everything In Its Right Place' as the first single from Kid A, but then the band decided not to put out any singles at all. Thom later expressed his regret over that decision.
When the band reworked the song for live performance the lead off track of the album evolved into the ideal closing track. For years it would end the main set before the first encore. 


The national anthem

The roots of this song go back to the On A Friday days. Colin remembered that Thom wrote the bass riff around the age of 16 or 17 and made a 4-track recording using his BOSS Doctor Rhythm drum machine.

The instrumental track was played as early as 1994 with the band, it came up during rehearsals held before recording commenced for The Bends. Ed mentioned a "semi rip-off" going on and cited the band Kitchens Of Distinction as an influence on the arrangement.
The track was reconsidered in 1997, and it was decided to give it a try when it was time to record b-sides for the No Surprises singles in november 1997. That session yielded a recording that would become the actual basic track for the released version of 'The National Anthem'. As Colin was not present at the november 1997 session, Thom plays bass on the studio version that was released on Kid A.

The recording, which was still an instrumental at this point, was deemed too good for b-side release, and was put on the shelf for the time being, awaiting further work.
The band returned to the track in spring 1999 during the sessions at Batsford. Initially, the song was called 'Everyone'. The new title 'The National Anthem' came from associations with a bit of orchestral music that Jonny had inserted at the end. He also added other sounds he found on the radio and played ondes Martenot.

The song is mentioned in three entries of Ed's Diary, the second of which refers to the brass overdub session, which took place in the first half of november 1999 in order to realize ideas that were inspired by listening to Charles Mingus. Even the ensemble of eight musicians was inspired by Mingus' band. Jonny had written a rough score and "conducted" the players, who also developed own ideas, along with Thom, who broke his foot jumping up and down heavily and told the musicians to play like "really cross" car drivers stuck in a traffic jam.



investors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $1trillion moves everyday.
history shows. the royal we. guilt. hymns numbered on a
board. you were never there. its not my fault.
mobiles chping
silence n th wd f sucides chping chping. vrythng chp chp chp. squlng fr ttntn
range rovers barbours preaching from lecterns.all an
act no blame attac coloured sweeties to rot your teeth with. harpies sit in the trees
eating/pecking away - the wood of suicides

outta juice
lame mule

repeat parrot fashion  

 'Idioteque' contains a sample from Paul Lansky's 'Mild und Leise', which Jonny found on a compilation LP from 1974 called 'Electronic Music Winners':


Pyramid song


"They all became part of the river. It was the goal of all of them, yearning, desiring, suffering; and the river's voice was full of longing, full of smarting woe, full of insatiable desire. The river flowed on towards to it's goal. Siddartha saw the river hasten, made up of himself and his relatives and all the people he had ever seen. All the waves and water hastened, suffering, towards goals, many goals, to the waterfall, to the sea, to the current, to the ocean and all the goals were reached and each one was succeeded by another. The water changed to vapour and rose, became rain and came down again, became spring, brook and river, changed anew, flowed anew. But the yearning voice had altered. It still echoed sorrowfully, searchingly but other voices accompanied it, voices of pleasure and sorrow, good and evil voices, laughing and lamenting voices, hundreds of voices, thousands of voices............."
Herman Hesse

The working title of this song was 'Egyptian Song'. 

"i jumped in the river and what did i see? black-eyed angels swimming with me. a moon full of stars and astral cars. all the figures i used to see. all my lovers were there with me. all my past and futures. and we all went to heaven in a little row boat. there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt.


Sit down. Stand Up.

According to Thom, the lyrics were inspired by "watching the delights of Rwanda on TV". The war in Zaire, that involved Rwanda, began on august 2nd 1998. This would fit with Thom saying in 2003 that it was written "5 years ago". But his Rwanda comment could also very well refer to the genocide in 1994, which would perfectly fit the "wipe you out" references. In that case the lyrics would be much older, and he perhaps only refered to when the music was created in that 2003 interview.
The song was then probably attempted in the Kid A sessions, but it's highly doubtful that the working title was 'Innocent Civilians', which appears to be a different song, which is perhaps similar in terms of lyrics and music.

At any rate, lyrics that put the phrase "innocent civilians" next to lyrics that would end up in 'Sit Down. Stand Up.' could be found in the late 1999/early 2000 version of radiohead.com in a page titled 'collaterally damaged', that appeared in two designs:

Stand up. Sit down. We can
wipe you out anytime . Gentleman's agreement
among civilised men innocent civilians
a terrible shame

walk into the jaws of hell walk into the jaws of hell walk into the jaws of hell

 stand up.
sit down.
we can
wipe you out
anytime . gentleman's agreement
among civilised men innocent civilians

a terrible shamewalk into the jaws of hell walk into the jaws of hell walk into the jaws of hell




The first musical ideas for the song also stem from 1998. These were programmed by Thom on his QY70 sequencer.

When working on Kid A, this sketch was developed into a rhythm track by Jonny and Colin during the experimental electronica-only sessions in early 2000. Colin mentioned that with this track they "managed to work out how to make all the boxes and machines talk to each other". Certainly a breakthrough point in the process of adapting new ways of working into the band. The resulting rhythm track wouldn't be used for the time being, but would become the basis of 'Backdrifts' when making Hail to the Thief. In spring 2001, around the time Amnesiac was released, these early lyrics appeared in the 'imaginery prisons' section of radiohead.com. It is well possible that this is what Thom noted down in early 1998:

Backdrifts in Japan.
Covers everything in a blanket.
Teeters on a branch.

Here I go
Trying to be someone I'm not.
Someone I'm not.

Use it well.
Watch it slip.

I fell into your arms.
There was nothing i could do.

In summer 2002, 'Backdrifts' was one of the two songs on Hail To The Thief, that weren't performed on the Iberian Tour. Chances are that the band hadn't figured out yet how to play the track live, but the main reason probably was, that Thom hadn't finished the lyrics yet. Three pages, that Thom wrote in september 2002 while the band was in L.A., appeared in the 'scrapbook' section of radiohead.com and showcase him trying to work out the lyrics. While one of the pages only mentions the songtitle, the other two feature lines that would be scrapped for the final version and shed more light on the development of the lyrics:

 Thom had great difficulty finishing the lyrics, and ultimately used a method where he cut up the lines and shuffled them around until constellations appeared that appealed to him.


There there

There there' was heavily influenced by the German band Can and was around already during the sessions for Kid A. In this embryonic state it still missed what would become the second half of the song and featured different lyrics. 
 The outro was still considerably longer at this point and featured the same "coo coo coo" vocalizations that can also be heard in the outro of the demo. This arrangement mainly differs in the build-up from the middle of the song towards the end. Here the band already kicks into "full rock modus" with Thom shouting "There there!". This certainly powerful moment would be sacrificed later for a different plot. 

The band attempted to capture the energy of the live arrangement at Ocean Way studios in L.A., but this version remained unreleased.

Instead, a different arrangement was recorded back in England at the band's Oxfordshire studio in october. Realising that the live arrangement didn't translate well onto tape, the solution was found in a slower build-up towards the end. Rather than staying on the same highly energetic level from the middle onwards, the climax was now not reached until the line "we are accidents waiting to happen".
On March 30th 2003, the rough mix of the song leaked and it represents the state of work from February. It is apparently the only leaked mix that is identical to the released version. This fits with Thom's description of hearing a perfect mix of 'There There' when he flew back to Los Angeles in October 2002, where Nigel was mixing at Ocean Way. Overwhelmed by the fact that the song worked so well he broke into tears, as he had feared 'There There' might be another of those great songs that never really worked to the band's satisfaction. Listening to this mix released that fear and gave the band enough confidence to get into the difficult process of mixing the rest of the album. If the mix really wasn't changed since October 2002, 'There there' was the first track that was finished for Hail to the Thief:


Jigsaw falling into place



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