ATOMS FOR PEACE: THE INITIATION (In response to Middle8Magazine. The original article appears here: http://middle8mag.com/1/atoms-for-peace)
The brand spanking new web mag MIddle8, a creation o Soundhalo, has an interesting article in which the author Erin Spens discusses the fact that Atoms for Peace seems to be touring as if, and this is my spin, they were in some kind of disguise through which nobody quite gets who they are or what they are doing together. In any case, the tour is somewhat understated, at least from what I’ve seen. So I wrote an opinion piece about it that I first put on Radiohead.com’s site and I’m reposting it here. All power to Atoms for Peace.
It’s of note that Atoms for Peace has still not landed firmly on mother Earth – that is, not a raging topic of musical heat wherever people talk about these things.
For my money, the reason that Atoms for Peace is still “under the radar” is that what the band has created is not just something to listen to. Oh, it’s all that, but in fact when these musicians decided to take on what had been created on a computer, they put into the mix that the defining feature of their work is their humanity. By this I mean that the expression of the music isn’t just about the sound in this case, it’s a tribal, personal thing that requires dancing and dodging and hearts beating together. Seeing the people who made this happen. The sweat running down Flea’s fingers when he plays has everything to do with the project. Thom closing his eyes and moving hip to hip brings the finishing piece to what they’ve created. A single man making it perfectly clear that he is doing something that a machine might be the bridge to, but can never have anywhere near the same power or depth of feeling.
And we want to feel. Oh how we want to feel. Not just to move to a beat, but to be joined by it to something bigger and more beautiful and more personal. Something that lets us know in the face of any black hole that as long as we are human, we will bring light.
I seriously suspect that Atoms for Peace Amok is a musical work that requires this experience. It returns us to something primitive really — what it was to see a musician and a band when we thought of them, however unconsciously, as shamans bringing us a rite of glory and communion. Those who have seen them might not even be able to do justice in words to what it’s like. But this may just be performance art, and without it, nobody can really envision the remarkable achievement of these five men.