Various Artists - Exit Music EP 3

People get confused about cover versions. They are a labour of love, not some sort of disrespectful treatment of the classics. Everyone involved in the “Exit Music” project love the music of Radiohead – “Songs with Radio Heads” doesn’t attempt to replace the originals as “definitive versions”. Instead, like the Futureheads cover of Kate Bush or the Slits cover of Marvin Gaye, this is an exercise in translating well-loved tracks into a different genre.

“Exit Music” also taps into the dancefloor potential of Radiohead, long recognized by DJs ranging from Paul Oakenfold to the Scratch Perverts. The band themselves are devotees of both hiphop and dance music – commissioning remixes from respected figures such as Madlib, DJ Shadow and Four Tet. With an increasing number of under the counter remixes beginning to surface, BBE thought it was time to collect together the finest hiphop and dance cover versions of Radiohead songs. Ranging from gentle acoustic treatments to raw funky versions, BBE have taken the songs of Thom Yorke into realms even he couldn’t imagine. And with a new album from Radiohead expected in 2006, “Exit Music” may only be the beginning…



A1 [Nice Dream] by Matthew Herbert featuring Mara Carlyle
Original Album: “The Bends” (1995)
Original Length: 3.53 min
Cover Length: 6.36 min

The original ‘Nice Dream’ can be found on the 1995 Radiohead album ‘ The Bends’. This song revels in a happy-life fantasy, but concludes that it can be nothing more than a "nice dream." The lyrics came from a half drunken dream that Thom Yorke had. It's about relationships with people generally.

Matthew Herbert brings in his own unique style and reproduces a version of Nice Dream that constantly reflects his own production flair and craftsmanship. Reminiscent of one of his many aliases “Doctor Rockit”, Herbert expresses his own creative stamp on the bare elements he takes from the original. With Mara Carlyle providing vocals, the end result is a curiously quaint Waltz, echoing accordions and soft fluctuating pads. Herbert takes the song and transforms it into a pleasantly surreal dream sequence with only hints of the original arrangement remaining, it is one the more original re-workings on the album.

A2 Airbag by RJD2
Original Album: “OK Computer” (1997)
Original Length: 4.44 min
Cover Length: 4.30 min

Opening OK computer with a clattering drum sample and an expression of the fragility of human existence is archetypal Radiohead: unsurprisingly this is Thom Yorke’s favourite track on “OK Computer”. Jonny Greenwood explained “Thom & Phil worked a whole day with the computer to cut up the drums and try to make it sound like DJ Shadow”.  The comparisons with Shadow have also been made with the work of RJD2 but his cover of the song is a very different beast: he completely reworks “Airbag” into a squelchy electro instrumental, whose alien oscillating rhythms seep out of the speakers. RJD2 has remixed everyone from indie favourites (Elbow, the Polyphonic Spree) to R&B darlings (Utada and Tweet). He’s currently working on three separate albums for release in 2006, including his much anticipated second Soul Position album with Blueprint.

B1 No Surprises by Shawn Lee
Originally appeared on: “OK Computer” (1997)
Original Length: 3.48 min
Cover Length: 3.48 min

In Melody Maker in May 1997 Ed O’Brien compared “No Surprises” to Louie Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”: the band have always insisted this isn’t a suicide song, but the sense of resignation is clear. Unveiled in 1995 when on tour in Norway with REM, Radiohead’s original version has a beautiful bleakness, with O’Brien’s glockenspiel refrain giving it the air of an unpleasant nursery rhyme. For his version Shawn Lee captures the same sense of childlike innocence, with the world-weariness shown through the vaudeville-tinged delivery and the relentless drum refrain. Having worked with everyone from UNKLE to Jeff Buckley, Lee’s range is considerable. He’s also no stranger to the odd cover version: he covered Nick Drake’s “River Man” for Ubiquity’s “Rewind” series, as well as recording an album for Wall of Sound’s “We Love You” imprint and two further albums for Ubiquity, accompanied by his “Ping Pong Orchestra”. He’s also responsible for the under-the-counter breaks series “The Ape Breaks” and “Planet of the Breaks”.


Exit Music EP 3


01 Matthew Herbert feat. Mara Caryle – (Nice Dream)
03 Shawn Lee - No Suprises
02 RJD2 - Airbag

Related Releases: