Radiohead, ‘Lotus Flower’

Thom Yorke

While on important business stashing old baby clothes in the loft last week, I discovered an even more crucial use of my time – rescuing some old self-made mixtapes from the dusty cassette drawers to take downstairs and not play because my tape deck’s broken, and therefore clutter up the dining room even more.

One that I can’t wait to enjoy again at some distant point is a gloomy mix made at the end of 1995. Starting off with Tricky’s oh-so-coolly-obscure ‘Nothing’s Clear’ and moving through Parliament Funkadelic & P-Funk All-Stars’ foggy take on ‘Follow The Leader’, Goldie’s ‘Inner City Life’, some acoustic Jhelisa and smoky D’Angelo, it’s sunshine all the way. I think The King Of Limbs would find kindred spirits here, and ‘Lotus Flower’ in particular would snuggle up to Ingrid Schroeder’s ‘Bee Charmer’, where DJ Muggs makes spooky trip hop all drum and bassy.

Separated from Thom Yorke’s daft, standing-on-a-live-rail dancing, ‘Lotus Flower’ is an eerie blues. Remove thoughts of Thom’s convulsions entirely and it’s almost sexy. Its final 30 seconds go higher and higher, a trance state whipped away as The King Of Limbs plunges into its fantastic three-song finale: deep, feet-planted chords and a hook place ‘Codex’ above cousins ‘Pyramid Song’ and ‘Sail To The Moon’; ‘Give Up The Ghost’ is devotional, somehow tender (or ‘Tender’); ‘Separator’ finds a groove in guitars that resemble George Martin’s speeded-up, ‘In My Life’ piano. There’s much to admire in the album’s first half, but it finds its feet with increasing assurance until it’s moving them with controlled joy.

All this analysis is peripheral for Junior, who cuts to the chase, to what we take for granted: the band’s name. “Radiohead? Radiohead?! You have a radio in your head.” She gets up and moves robotically across the room. “I-AM-RA-DI-O-HEAD.”

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[12] Parliament Funkadelic & P-Funk Allstars, ‘Follow The Leader (D&S Remix)’

This is awash with da funk. A George Clinton cover of Eric B & Rakim’s last hurrah, that takes the scary hip-hop chiller and slows it down, slips in some Flavor cold lampin’ and grooves it up to the max. It’s not the lead single mix – which does all the above at a murkier level – but it’s the version with the closest mothership connection. If you haven’t heard it, I’ll do you a tape.

The first record of the day always has an advantage with Junior. She’s at her freshest (and flyest) and she hasn’t yet remembered her stacking cups. It’s a 12” single again, so it’s a chance to grin at Dad standing at the decks. 

It’s also a chance to get down p-funk stylee and scratch the sofa. Her feet don’t fail her now.