After the triumph of OK Computer, Radiohead fell into a creative tailspin -- and frontman Thom Yorke into a nervous breakdown. Exhausted from touring, hounded by press, and jaded by copycats, he escaped into the electronica scene pioneered by Kraftwerk and Warp Records -- fertile ground, the band discovered. Trading spacey rock for apocalyptic brooding, they teased their new sound not with singles or music videos but with innovative web streaming and cryptic, dreamlike "blips" -- winterlands, flocks of cubes, eyeballs, bears. After nearly breaking up over tracklist angst, they cut the kid in half. Thus fifteen years ago today, Kid A and (later) Amnesiac debuted, a confounding mix of electronic fugue, whalesong, pulsing IDM, drunken piano, and epic jazz funeral whose insights into anxiety, political dysfunction, and climate crisis would make it one of the most revered albums of the twenty-first century. See the documentary Reflections on Kid A for interviews and live cuts, or look inside for much more. [more inside]
8 Bit Renditions: hear the classics as if they were composed for the NES! While My Guitar Gently Weeps Fly Like An Eagle We Built This City [more inside]
Pretty Eight Machine - an 8-Bit rendition of the Nine Inch Nails album.
In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep" and the success of sophomore record The Bends, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead were under pressure to deliver once more. So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor and got to work. What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity -- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology -- through a mosaic of challenging, innovative, eerily beautiful music unlike anything else at the time. Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments, the band finally settled on OK Computer, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
Nerdcore rock band I Fight Dragons presents I Fight Ganon, a live performance of the Legend Of Zelda Theme song
The new music video for "Big Wheels" by Toronto pop/rap/rock/fun sextet Down With Webster is a masterpiece of 8-bit animation interwoven seamlessly with live action. [more inside]
8bitpeoples is an artist collective focusing on the sounds and images that came with early computing and video gaming, specifically chiptunes, or music made either with actual vintage hardware (like using a GameBoy and LSDJ) or with software emulators. [more inside]
TheNintendoDrummer plays drums over Nintendo music. Totally Rad. Castlevania 2. Ghosts and Goblins. Ninja Gaiden 2. Mega Man 9.
Originally a product of the simple tone and noise generators (and limited processing power) that shipped with video consoles and early computers, the 8-bit music (more properly, chiptunes) scene is now quite a bit more diverse. It covers Lady Gaga, Metallica, and Elvis Presley. It releases albums. And yes, it rickrolls. (mostly MLYT)
The Creator's Project unleashes The Eclectic Method’s (previously) latest video, Super Mario Mashup onto the world with a bonus genre-exploding montage and Q&A trying to put it all together.
8-bit Weezer. Video game music netlabel Pterodactyl Squad has released an 8-bit album tribute to Weezer, for free.
8-bit Jesus is a free CD of Christmas classics, done in 8-bit style by the fantastic Doctor Octoroc. [via]
VGMix is a site that hosts MP3s made by video game afficionados who have remixed the tunes from their favorite video games, old and new alike. Check out the releases page and try out a few songs. You can also search for songs by a particular game system, genre, specific game, etc. (Unfortunately, search seems broken for me right now, but it usually works!) The users generally provide extensive reviews that will help you sort out the great from the mediocre before downloading.