Posts Tagged ‘Oxford . O.K Computer’

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we’ve been hacked
my archived mini discs from 1995-1998(?)
it’s not v interesting, there’s a lot of itif you want it, you can buy the whole lot here
18 minidisks for £18
the proceeds will go to Extinction Rebellionas it’s out there,it may as well be out there
until we all get bored
and move on
Thmx
Released June 11, 2019
The 18 tracks of raw audio are identified only by numbers “MD111” through “MD128,” so discovering what songs are actually on the discs will be an Easter egg hunt, though some fans have been cataloging it on a shared Google doc. Greenwood says the recordings will only be available for the next 18 days. “Never intended for public consumption (though some clips did reach the cassette in the OK Computerreissue) it’s only tangentially interesting. And very, very long.”

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It probably wouldn’t be all that exciting to hear 18 hours of process recordings by most artists, but Radiohead in the late ‘90s is an exception. This is partly because they were willing to take big swings in terms of arrangements, and it’s just interesting to hear them, say, try “Karma Police” with a dub reggae groove and give up halfway through. But it’s mostly because this archive of material is a document of them denying a lot of their own instincts and impulses in the interest of pushing towards a bolder evolution.

This takes a few different forms in the archive. In some cases, you get recordings of Thom Yorke seemingly improvising songs off the top of his head and you can hear the sort of melodies and chords he reaches for when he’s not really thinking and acting on a sort of muscle memory. There’s also a lot of full-band improvisations and abandoned songs in which in retrospect it’s pretty obvious they’re just getting various influences out of their system, whether it’s yet another standard 80s-style alt-rock song, or them going into a funk jam for 11 minutes just to see if anything cool happens. Then there’s just a lot of rejected arrangements and approaches to songs – you really get a sense of how “Airbag” evolved in particular, and how they pushed it from a rote “High & Dry”-esque ballad into something that still sounds quite futuristic and progressive over 20 years later.

Then there’s “Lift.” It’s pretty clear they knew that “Lift” was a very commercial song, but one where if it was indeed successful would push them in a rather square direction that would ultimately become Coldplay’s entire lane as a band. It’s a beautiful song in any arrangement, and triggers big emotions even as Yorke seems to undermine his own song with odd lyrics when the melody seems to call out for something more sentimental and direct. There’s a few versions of “Lift” in the minidisc archive, including an unmastered studio recording that is batched along with the full unmastered OK Computer and most of its b-sides, suggesting that the song came awfully close to being included or released on one of the singles.

The recording of “Lift” posted here is the best of all the known versions; the one where they get out of their own way and just let the song be as big and emotional as it wants to be. They’re leaning into every musical impulse they’re trying to get away from in this period, and it’s beautiful and unguarded. Thom sings with earnest passion, and Jonny Greenwood is unashamed to pile on a ton of synthesized strings to tug at your heartstrings. Maybe this, like that funk jam, was just a way of getting some impulses out of their system. I get why they felt a need to discard this and move on, but I’m very glad we have this recording now. It’s absolutely wonderful on its own terms.

After 18 hours of unreleased material from OK Computer’s recording sessions last week, and the band was reportedly extorted for $ 150,000, Radiohead has now decided to download the material for 18 days at Bandcamp for a £ 18 price To make available. All proceeds go to the Extinction Rebellion movement, which uses civil disobedience against the mass extinction of animals and plants as a result of the climate crisis.

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