Sunday, Dec. 7, 2003
Jonny Greenwood claims that "Bodysong," the soundtrack of an experimental film, is not a solo album. The multi-instrumentalist, who has already made a reputation for himself as a member of Radiohead coloring in the stark imaginings of Thom Yorke, seems content being a musical wonk who supplements the art of others. This album, however, works successfully as a work unto itself.
Unlike most rock musicians who do soundtracks, Greenwood makes complex music with real arrangements. Fans of the last three Radiohead albums will find much to love in the album's jittery, moody melodicism, but the freedom of the project also allows Greenwood to explore other musical interests. He demonstrates a real talent for Arvo Part-like modalities in the pieces for string quartet, and his free-jazz ideas wouldn't embarrass Ornette Coleman. But the real revelation is his use of rhythm. On "Convergence," a squad of percussion instruments beat out different time signatures in a cacophonous mess until mathematical chance forces them to play in unison. Now that's a body song.