Author and poet Adam Thorpe joined Radiohead for a while observing the band recording A Moon Shaped Pool in France. At La Fabrique, once a nineteenth-century mill, Radiohead recorded their ninth album. Adam Thorpe wrote this piece on the Times Literary Supplement detailed his behind the scenes glimpse.
“A whiteboard shows only a list of tracks in black marker pen, starting with “Daydreaming” and ending with “Burn the Witch”. The rejected James Bond film tune, “Spectre”, floats in the middle, slightly separate. Colin points to the main console, a vast sweep of knobs, buttons and faders. “This is a Neve 88 R, seventy-two channels, made in Burnley. Worth about a hundred thousand. It’s analog, like this reel-to-reel Studer, but we also use digital. It’s all about looping and layering.” In the older, vaulted section, part of the floor is stone, with a giant hieroglyph chiselled out. “Probably Roman”, he explains. “Where the millstone went.””
“The barn’s speakers are wired up to the recording studios: the band’s resident artist Stanley Donwood reacts in acrylic to what he hears, the results to be modified and manipulated on computer for the LP’s cover.”
“Jonny, ever restless, is in a brass-studded leather chair crouched over his home-made sound machine (little hammers hitting various objects) and its accompanying laptop, and Ed is listening to him in front of his long row of guitars. Jonny establishes a rhythm, part-calypso, part-reggae, with his yoghurt cartons, tubs, bells and mini-tambourine. “Sounds a bit like Marvin Gaye”, Ed comments.”
Read the full story over at the Times Literary Supplement.