What Is That You See?
Main Index On a Friday 1985-1988 On a Friday 1989-1991 Pablo Honey The Bends OK Computer Kid A Amnesiac Hail to the Thief In Rainbows The King of Limbs A Moon Shaped Pool Thom Yorke Jonny Greenwood Ed O'Brien Colin Greenwood Philip Selway
The song first appeared on the summer 1990 demo compilation tape:
This is the only recording from that demo compilation where Phil plays drums. While he was in Ireland the band had recorded with Nigel Powell instead. When Phil returned the band recorded another demo track at Nuneham Courtenay Village Hall, 'What Is That You See?', significant because it was the first time Jonny moved from keyboards to guitar. The song was the only one from this period that remained in the set up until just prior to the deal with Parlophone.
A reworked version was recorded in april 1991 at Dungeon Studios:
The only available live recording of the song comes from 1991, being the oldest live recording of the band circulating in public. The otherwise unknown gig took place perhaps late in the year around the time First Tapes was recorded.


Date (contains Link) Venue City Country Notes
01. 1991 [unknown venue] [unknown city] England
Jonny later mentioned 'What Is That You See' in a 1997 interview for Q magazine:
The four others remember tapes of Thom Yorke's early compositions as being 'schizophrenic'.

'One track, Rattlesnake, just had a drum loop that Thom did himself at home on a tape recorder with bad scratching over the top and kind of Prince vocals,' Jonny Greenwood remembers. 'The Chains had viola and was meant to sound like the Waterboys. What Is That You See was a feedback frenzy. After hearing it, I knew Thom was writing great songs and I knew what I wanted to do.'