In 1997, Radiohead’s OK Computer came out. It’s an understatement to say that it was a monumental shift in what “rock” music could be. The band had already broken new ground with landmark records like Pablo Honey and The Bends, but OK Computer set the foundation for a musical experimentalism rarely seen in popular music.
And it’s just that sort of experimentalism that lends Radiohead’s music to the orchestral touch. A quick web search’ll yield at least a few string quartet tributes to the band’s music. But you don’t have to plunk down a tenner, because our song of the day today is “Airbag,” OK Computer‘s opening track, performed by Austin’s orchestral, indie-pop ensemble Mother Falcon in our own Studio 1A. The band (which, depending on the performance, can include over 20 members) performed the entire album, start to finish, late last month at the Scottish Rite Theater.
Mother Falcon’s version of “Airbag” sheds a bit of the dystopian menace (but only a bit–the pounding beat and the squeal of bow on string give it just enough paranoid energy) of the Radiohead tune, while maintaining the inherent dreaminess that drifts just underneath Johnny Greenwood’s guitar and Thom Yorke’s other-worldly voice on the original Radiohead cut. Mother Falcon tends to inject a certain innocence to whatever song–original or cover–they approach. Combined with Radiohead’s groundbreaking tunes, it’s a formula that can’t miss.
Mother Falcon is currently recording a new record which (may) be out sometime around early summer (according to a post on their Facebook). But you can also check them out February 1 and 2 at the Scottish Rite Theater along with Balmorhea, and on February 23 during The Austin Music Map’s MapJam 2013 festival.