"Separator (Live From the Basement)" from The King of Limbs: Live From the Basement (2011) by Radiohead
The last couple minutes of this live, in-studio version of “Separator” blow me away every time. I’m willing to say it’s perhaps the most beautiful combination of voice and synth and guitar I’ve ever encountered. Be warned: a casual listen will not yield the same experience as a devoted listen. This song must build in its listener. It must be loud—very loud—and one has to release all inhibitions and get lost between the notes. Allow the music to wash over you and be ready to go for a swim in that ocean of synths and the river of guitar strums it feeds. The beauty burgeons as Thom sings, “If you think this is over, then you’re wrong,” and the last two iterations in particular form the figurative cliff the devoted listener is shoved from before falling into the comfortable abyss of musical sublimity. Thom sings “wake me up” again and again, and to be honest I’ve never heard a more stunning moment in music.
It might very well be that this song has the aformentioned effects on me and me alone… I certainly can’t speak for others. When I listen to it, though, I can’t help but fall under its spell; it’s as if I’m tranced into the very dream the song’s first line describes. The album version of “Separator” is fantastic in its own right—and perhaps better as a whole—but it’s the unique sound of Thom’s Epiphone Casino and the accompanying in-house synthesizers of those last two minutes that make all the difference for me. No matter what kind of stress I’m under, I can always kick back, blast this track, and dissolve into the music.