So, if you an obsessive Radiohead’er or hardcore indie kid who spends way too many hours on the Internet (like us!), you probably know that at some point in the last month, The Fiery Furnaces’ Matt Friedberger talked some shit about Radiohead because he thought Yorke and Co. had written a song Harry Partch, the American composer.
He said (via Spinner), “‘Oh, please listen to our new song about Harry Patch’. Fuck you! You brand yourself by brazenly and arbitrarily associating yourself with things that you know people consider cool, That is bogus. That’s a put-on. That’s a branding technique, and Radiohead have their brand that they’re popular and intelligent, so they have a song about Harry Patch.”
He continued, “How’s the song? Is it 48 notes to the octave? What does it have to do with Harry Patch? Oh, my wife says I am being very rude. She doesn’t like me insulting Radiohead. She’s afraid they will send their lackeys through the computer to sabotage us.” But they needn’t worry — we are a band that sabotages ourselves.”
Unfortunately, Radiohead had instead written a song about Harry Patch, the last surviving British World War I veteran, who died this past July. So, obviously, Friedberger’s comments looked a bit foolish. Eventually, he would issue a half-hearted statement about how he got confused and that it doesn’t matter because he still hates Radiohead and so do “most creative musicians,” but all that doesn’t really matter. You just need to know the context.
Now, fast forward a few weeks, and Beck has decided to offer a response of his own — those popular musicians have to stick together don’t you know! Despite already having way too much stuff on his plate (in just the last week alone, he has announced a new covers album project and released a new music video for Charlotte Gainsbourg’s “Heaven Can’t Wait”!), the musician has penned a song titled “Harry Partch” and, as you may have guessed, it is about the aforementioned the American composer.
According to a statement on beck.com, “[The song] is a tribute to the composer and his desire to make the body and music unified into what he termed ‘Corporeality.’ The song employs Partch’s 43 tone scale, which expands conventional tonality into a broader variation of frequencies and resonances.” So, there!
Check “Harry Partch” out below. Here’s hoping Friedberger talks shit about some more bands. We can never have enough new Beck songs after all!