You may recall news that Jonny Greenwood and Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki were working on an album together after they performed last September in Poland. NPR has that album now available for you to stream online.
That challenge lies at the very heart of this album, which brings together one of rock and electronic music’s superheroes, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, with one of his own idols: the septuagenarian Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. The collection features two string pieces written by the elder composer, 1960’s Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima and 1961’sPolymorphia for 48 strings, juxtaposed with two of Greenwood’s similarly set answers to Penderecki’s work: Popcorn Superhet Receiver (inspired by Threnody) and 48 Responses to Polymorphia. Here, they both choose to use a seemingly antiquated vehicle — orchestral strings — to convey the noise, chaos and energy of our time. The results are ear-tingling.