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Thom Yorke Talks Atoms for Peace Album


Thom Yorke’s project Atoms for Peace with Nigel Godrich, Flea, Joey Waronker, and Mauro Refosco are releasing their debut full-length sometime early next year via XL. Details are still to be confirmed; the previously reported January 28 release date is not accurate. However, Yorke recently spoke with Rolling Stone about the LP.

The group formed to perform songs off Yorke’s 2006 solo album The Eraser. After those shows in 2010, the band recorded material for the upcoming album at a studio in L.A.

Yorke called the record “mechanistic” and described the group’s process, fusing the 2010 session recordings with electronic laptop compositions and additional studio work by himself and Godrich. “One of the things we were most excited about was ending up with a record where you weren’t quite sure where the human starts and the machine ends,” Yorke said. He likened himself to a conductor during the recording sessions, and called his laptop works “angular,” “brittle,” and “exciting.”

According to Godrich, the record was a “compromise” for Yorke. “This is the eternal battle with Thom,” Godrich said. “He’s like, ‘I really want to make a dance record. But I have to sing on it, or nobody’s going to fucking care.’” To which Yorke said, “The best tunes I dance to always have at least one good vocal idea. There’s no such thing, to me, as a good tune with no vocals.”
Describing the recording process, Yorke said, “We were at Flea’s house. We got wasted, played pool and listened to Fela Kuti all night.”

The tracklist for the record has yet to be confirmed, but Rolling Stone mentions several cuts: “Dropped”, “Before Your Very Eyes”, “Stuck Together Pieces”, “Reverse Running”, and “Judge, Jury and Executioner”. On “Judge”, Yorke said, “The phrase spewed out when I was playing the song on guitar. It was like a key, opening a door into all this other stuff I was desperate to get out.” Meanwhile, “Reverse Running” is a “head-space thing,” according to Yorke. “I’d love to be a storyteller,” he said. “But I can’t do it.”

Watch a clip of “The Eraser” from the first Atoms for Peace show: