Occasionally, this blog is relevant―like really really relevant. Topical too. Like when a new Radiohead drops, and the hot new beats widget is up within the week!
Track 2 off King of Limbs is a syncopated little Mixolydian tune called “Morning Mr Magpie”. Here is a little loop of the first couple measures to give you the basic idea. (I trust the Head won’t begrudge these Doggies, as the entire album is up on youtube.)
So here’s the breakdown of that fucked up farce of a 4/4 beat. Though there is really no bass drum in the song, a muted guitar taps the samba feel and the tonic throughout (as represented by the “kick” below). The hi-hats bounce along the off-beats (also called up-beats, or feminine beats) and often synch up with the kick drums. The snare drums strike alone on the 3′s and 4′s, as snare drums are wont to do in rock ‘n’ roll (isn’t it still?). The 3 and 4 are the classic “pah” of a boom-pah beat, or the “cats” in “boots & cats”. Believe it or not, there’s actually only one quaver rest (a 1/16 note of silence) in the whole beat, right in between the first two hi-hats.
Throw them all together and you get this crazy compin’ off-beat samba groove. Click on the score to turn on/off.
Try it on your laps at home if you dare, using the membranophones of your very own body.
Who needs songs when you got beats this good?