Saturday, October 13, 2007
My junior year of college I had the chance to see a laser light show of Radiohead's Ok Computer at the Grand Rapids Conservatory. It was really interesting and I remember that night really falling in love with what Radiohead offered sonically. Years later I feel asleep to Kid A and remembering oddly falling in love with Amnesiac. Now I am not really surprised as I love sonic noise and how you can manipulate noise to add texture or a message to the music. On Thursday I finally took the time to erase some space from my limited hard drive to make room for In Rainbows, the latest record from Radiohead
In Rainbows is a beautiful record. It is only ten songs, low quality MP3s, but from what I have been reading it seems as if it is just a tastey treat to wet the palate before the full length box set comes out in December. The record itself is a step back from the noise exploration and is VERY accessible. If you didn't like Amnesiac or Hail to the Thief (this one might just be a favorite of mine) this can bring you back to the Ok Computer days. It is very easy to listen to and is very distinctly Radiohead. Simple driving beats, multiple guitar parts, string emphasis, and beautiful simple drum parts. Everyone that I have talked to about this record can't stop listening. They just keep hitting play when the Ipod finishes off with 'Videotape.'
What's interesting about this one is that there is no cover art or liner notes. A friend directed me to this blog that has different designs for each record. This design is my favorite. Pablo Honey is fun and Amnesiac is fantastic (I think it's because I have a thing for library cards. The meaning behind this is still being determined.)
The reason there is so much talk about the album doesn't have much to do with the music per say but how the album is being distributed. You can't find it on itunes or going to the local Best Buy, you can only find it to download at their website and you are able to set your own price. I am intrigued to find out people don't want to pay for the record but get it for free. Others I have read have paid up to $300 for it. For me I just laugh because it is a huge middle finger to record companies and the market that jacks up the price for art (this is a whole other conversation!) that almost every single time the musicians never receive a penny for the music they made. It is often on the tour and the merchandise purchased at said concert. It's an interesting conversation. One I hope to hear what people are saying and what the outcome financially for the men in Radiohead. If you are interested in finding out what others are paying there is a survey you can take to see what others have paid for in rainbows.
Take the time to check it out if you haven't yet. You might not pay a thing but remember that this time the artist is getting the money for something they have made.