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Newspaper reviews of Jonny Greenwood’s ‘Smear’

Here are some reviews of the London Sinfonietta performing Jonny Greenwood’s ‘Smear’ in Leeds:

The Financial Times wrote: “Two pieces stood out. If Smear is any guide, FuseLeeds04 has uncovered important classical leanings in Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. This short, atmospheric piece explores his fascination for the ondes martenot: he finds gainful employment for two of these rare instruments. Emitting a subtle radiance, based on mystic, Messiaenesque meditation one moment and quasi-futuristic motifs the next, Smear reveals an ear for timbre, a gift for musical elaboration and a more sophisticated palette than anyone might have guessed. Greenwood is clearly a composer in the making.”

The Times wasn’t that impressed: “Even though this sound experiment on two Ondes Martenot (early electronic keyboard) had its moments of atmosphere as the two instruments duetted eerily within the thin textures of the orchestration.”

According to The Guardian, ‘Smear’ was “an ambient ripple of a piece from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, provided glimpses of exquisitely sumptuous textures where its predecessor had been raw, and it deployed two ondes martenots (a microtonal, semi-electric instrument favoured by Messiaen) that often suggested birds trying to sing synthesiser music.”

And finally, The Yorkshire Post: “There was more brooding intensity in Smear, a new composition by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, which featured twin ondes martenot, early electronic keyboard instruments most familiar to lay listeners from 1950s’ sci-fi movie soundtracks.” [thanks Alex]

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