Nine Types of Light [a post about TV on the Radio. And fun physics]

“Something that makes things visible or affords illumination.”

So, a few days ago, the new TV on the Radio album, Nine Types of Light, leaked.  This thick ooozy leak seeped right into the dredges of my Google Reader, giving me an enticing little link to grab the album…

With TVOTR being one of my favourites, I’d like to be able to say that I took the moral high ground and decided to wait until its official release on April 8th, but I didn’t. That kind of decision is becoming all the more common with me and countless others. I guess Bob Dylan is the only artist who still stands on that plinth of artists who I’ll hold out until release day for. And Bobby could fall off that plinth at any point, dude’s going to be 70 next month, he’s getting wobbly.

A favourite t-shirt. Circa 2007.

Anyway, my new-found catholic guilt can be abated with the knowledge that I will be laying down some hard cash to buy the record in 10 days time and will also be making the tough trek through the snow to the depths of downtown Toronto (OK, so it’s only 10 minutes on a streetcar…) to see them in the cavernous shed that is the Sound Academy in 3 weeks time.

TVOTR + live setting has previously generated mixed results for me. Their first Irish gig (I believe), was in the old Temple Bar Music Centre in November 2006. Unfortunately I remember it as a pretty terrible show. The band were jet-lagged, cranky and hindered by terrible sound. The only good thing I took away from that night was a killer t-shirt…

As if to make it up to me and the hundred others disappointed by the TBMC disaster, they put on one of my favourite ever shows, in Tripod in late 2008. Everything about it was perfect, and with the wonderful Dear Science, sitting on top of my “album of the year 2008” list (this list exist only in my brain), I was content to have them entering a “hiatus” on a such a high note.

And so, after a year and a half popping up in the news for reasons as varied as solo-albums (1. 2), movie roles, fighting cancer and endless production credits, TVOTR are now back. And back with a bang. Below is the ridiculous video for their first single, Will Do, which popped up online last month.

TV on the Radio - 'Nine Types of Light'

Having played the two preview tracks (Will Do was followed by a free download of Caffeinated Consciousness) to death over the past month, it’s kind of weird hearing where they fit in with the rest of the album. I’ve only given the whole thing 5 or 6 listens so far, so I won’t be passing judgement yet, but am happy to report it sounds as dense and heart-felt as everything else they’ve done in the past 5 years. Only maybe this time, themes of love and contentment seem to be replacing the anger, energy and worry of the last two records. Hip-hip hooray for the hiatus though.

But this isn’t an album review..

Sidenote: There’ll be more than enough nonsense and analysis written about the band in the next few weeks. Nowadays when you’re in the upper-echelons of “indie rock royalty” with artists like Arcade Fire, The National, Radiohead and Sufjan Stevens, one of your main problems is going to be preventing over-exposure and finding ways of retaining some sort of indie credibility. Nowadays you could end up reading about a record like Nine Types of Light in outlets as varied as Pitchfork , Vanity Fair and the Drogheda Independent.

So in a change of direction, to close this post, I’m going to take inspiration from Dave Learning Stuff, the blog of an Irish/Australian adventurer and fellow former TV/web person. For I am going to try to educate myself and you, the 6 loyal readers of this blog. (Actually, make that 5. We can probably discount my mother who probably stopped reading this after the first paragraph.)

So buckle yourself in, as we’re now going to learn about…

The Nine Types of Light!


Good for: Tanning.
Not good for: Burning.


Good for: Setting the mood for a romantic dinner if the dimmer switch is broken.
Not good for: Seeing what you’re eating.


Good for: 4ft fluorescent tubes are perfect for light saber duels. [example]
Not good for: Mercury poisoning.


Good for: have you ever sat in a room with the lights off staring into the heart of an open fire as the room around you is filled with a warm, red glow? That’s how you REALLY think about something.
Not good for: Apparently if fire gets out of control it can be quite destructive.


Good for: Memorable glow-in-the-dark moments at the disco.
Not good for: Revealing incriminating stains in your bed sheets like the hit MTV show, “Room Raiders”.


Good for: Dancing.
Not good for: Seeing where you’re going when in the countryside. Potential for tripping over badgers/raccoons.


Good for: Lite butter/beer/milk will allow you to lose weight by reducing fat and calorie content.
Not good for: Fat and calorie content is usually what makes it tastes good.


Good for: Focusing on prominent figures of sports, entertainment or politics. Makes them think they will be shot when in reality all you have is a 2 dollar laser pointer.
Not good for: Imprisonment for conspiring to assassinate a prominent public figure. Though they may let you off if you play the simpleton card.


Good for: Sparking up smoking area conversations
Not good for: Causing cancer (see: “Sunlight”)

disclaimer: I took Leaving Cert Physics (take the 2003 paper right here if you fancy it…). I got a C1 but rocked the Optics section. I am well aware that light is electromagnetic radiation and belongs on the electromagnetic spectrum. This kind of radiation encompasses X-rays, gamma rays, ultraviolet light, infrared light, radiowaves, and visible light. Human eyes see visible light, so every type of light you observe is visible light. So for us mere mortals, on a strictly visual basis, there is only one kind of light. TVOTR have conned us all.

This entry was posted in featured, Music and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Nine Types of Light [a post about TV on the Radio. And fun physics]

  1. Pingback: The Nine Types of Light « Dave Learning Stuff

Comments are closed.