A story told in musical stream of consciousness…

Idioteque (Radiohead cover)

If you are a fan of Radiohead…this post is for you. If you aren’t a fan of Radiohead…well, this post can still be for you anyway. I’ll post the original, and my cover, and you can decide which one you’d like to listen to first. (A word of warning: my version takes a little time to get going, but if you have the patience to listen as it develops, I think [hope] you will find it to be well worth it.)

If you don’t know the Radiohead song “Idioteque” from the album Kid A, or if you need a refresher, here is the video of the original:

And here is my interpretation:
Idioteque (Radiohead Cover) by lifetrackedinsound

I think that most people who know me musically, know that I have been, and continue to be, very captivated by the options/limitations of live looping/sampling. I have mostly worked with original improvisation and ambient sound types of looping/sampled music, so this is a bit of a departure for me. This is the second song I have arranged for solo guitar/looping device. The first was the Bjork song “Undo” (which I may post here someday).

This version of “Idioteque” is done entirely on acoustic guitar. It was all done in one take, recorded live, or in real-time. Which means there are no multi-track overdubs. There is very little processing other than a slight reverb and a slight delay on the direct signal from my Taylor acoustic. And yes, I know it is kind of a long piece, but the process of looping requires things to be that way. I spent a few hours doing my best to streamline the arrangement and make everything develop quicker, but adding layer by layer simply requires time to build all the parts into a foundation that the melody of the song is played over.

This is easily my favorite Radiohead song, so it made sense to attempt a cover arrangement/interpretation of it.

I hope you enjoy it!


11 responses

  1. man..this is great. the slow build and somber tone is a good contrast to the paranoia induced original. cheers buddy, this is an excellent cover

    2010/04/29 at 1:04 pm

  2. Paul

    awesome work as usual luke =)

    2010/04/29 at 1:30 pm

  3. Bammer

    This is stellar.

    2010/04/29 at 7:31 pm

  4. Tim Fischer

    Beautiful! Nice touch with the e-bow.

    2010/04/30 at 7:50 am

  5. Lisa

    Love it! so much more enjoyable then the original – keep sharing!

    2010/04/30 at 8:36 am

  6. Definitely enjoyed your cover! Idioteque is one of my very fav Radiohead songs too. I love the idea of it as an acoustic song. Also love all the sounds of your fingers sliding across the frets around 6:00—7:00, which reminds me of Hunting Bears from Amnesiac. I remember playing that track for my Dad: he’d say it was just the sounds of fingers sliding on frets, I’d say it was the sound of dogs barking. I think we were both right.

    I’d also never seen the official music vid, which I really liked, especially the glowing mouth. It reminds me of how “Chaos” was personified in Gaiman’s Sandman series. I haven’t seen Where the Wild Things Are yet…but I can only imagine that Radiohead did a better and more hard-edged adaption of Sendak w/ this vid ; )

    2010/06/07 at 4:45 pm

  7. Great Vibe! A great song to start with, and you’re version takes a lot of the harshness from the original. Did you use a pedal for the looping or software?

    2010/07/22 at 5:15 pm

    • Hi Jordan,

      Thanks for the kind words and checking out my site. I used a rack unit with a foot controller for the looping. It’s an echoplex digital pro plus. Really cool unit. Discontinued though. There are still a few on ebay now and then.

      2010/07/24 at 1:50 pm

  8. Mathilda Hartnell


    Can you tell me what effects did you use to create the “synth” sounds? I’d love to know!


    2010/12/01 at 10:45 am

    • Mathilda Hartnell

      Oh, and if you could tell me the chords as well, that would be nice 🙂

      2010/12/01 at 10:47 am

    • There aren’t really any “effects” exactly. The synth-y sound is an ebow.

      And the chords for the song are Emin – C – Emin – C again…just different voicings the second time around.
      Open position for the first two, and 7th and 8th fret bar chord shapes for the second Emin and C.
      But I think I tuned the guitar down a whole step for this cover.

      There are two versions of this up on my site…so this is the info for this one…if you were referring to the video with Patrick Joseph its pretty similar…but there are some differences here and there.

      Hope that helps.

      And thanks for listening!

      2010/12/02 at 12:22 am

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