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]
The video for Squarepusher's ‘Stor Eiglass’ is an immersive psychedelic VR extravaganza (see video description for full details) Creative Review on the making of
In mid-2013, Zima Japan unveiled Z-Machines, a "social party robot band" featuring a 22-armed drummer, and a guitarist with 78 fingers. While Z-Machines was initially seen by many as a nightmarish reincarnation of the Chuck E. Cheese Band, the Japanese developers have since collaborated with other musicians, and now Warp Records is announcing an upcoming collaboration EP: Squarepusher x Z-Machines - Music For Robots to be released in April. [more inside]
A bit over a year ago, Warp Record's digital music shop, Bleep.com, presented their guide to recorded* electronic music, spanning from 1930 to 2010 (also as a Facebook timeline, which apparently kicked the whole thing off). The overview of recorded electronic music was presented as a selection of 55 tracks, almost five and a half hours in full. Part of this presentation was a (now expired) promotional deal to purchase the collection of songs as a lot, but you can still read about each piece of music on Bleep and hear 49 of the tracks in a playlist on Grooveshark. There's more to hear and read below the fold. [more inside]
LA-based electronic artist Flying Lotus has teamed up with the interesting animator Cyriak Harris (Previously) for a video to his new single "Putty Boy Strut". A small game based on the collaboration was released prior to the video. [more inside]
"For us, it's devastating ... I'm sure there are labels which aren't insured. I'm sure there will be labels that will go bust." A fire set as part of the ongoing London riots has destroyed the Sony-owned PIAS distribution warehouse, decimating the physical stock of most of the UK's independent music and film labels. Over 150 companies have been affected, including Domino, 4AD, Warp, XL, Rough Trade, Ninja Tune, Soul Jazz, Fat Cat, Chemikal Underground, Rekids, and the DVD labels Arrow Films (whose entire stock has been destroyed) and Masters of Cinema. The warehouse also housed stock for American labels Sub Pop, Drag City, Thrill Jockey and Secretly Canadian and Vice. Everything stored in the 20,000 square meter warehouse has been destroyed.
Trish Keenan, vocalist for the group Broadcast, has passed away after contracting H1N1 and pneumonia. [more inside]
UK design studio The Designers Republic has apparently gone out of business after 23 years. [more inside]
Dancefloor Dale (autoplaying music video) — NSFW after 1:05, and never safe for epilleptics. [more inside]
"If the emergence of techno and the proliferation of its related genres thrust DJs and producers into the spotlight, it also spawned artists who, like Kraftwerk before them, chose to remain anonymous and distant. The Scottish duo Boards of Canada (Marcus Eoin and Michael Sandison) is a case in point, an even more enigmatic presence on the UK's electronic music landscape than Aphex Twin and Autechre. Eoin and Sandison have consistently minimized their role in the commercial side of music-making and have avoided its attendant lifestyle: They've shunned city life for the rural seclusion of their Hexagon Sun studio and its local collective of artists. They claim to record primarily for themselves and their friends. They have reportedly amassed an enormous archive of unreleased music dating back to the early '80s (numerous apocryphal BoC tracks make the rounds). They seldom give interviews or perform live." [more inside]
While CD sales in the UK continue their upward march (nearly 8% this year) and UK music retailers show healthy profits, the Record Companies are gearing up to sue their British customers (ala The RIAA). Not all record companies, however, are taking the big stick approach: - Warp Records - (home of Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and Chris Morris) steps up to the plate with high-quality music downloads, unencumbered by DRM. Go figure.
autechre's new CD/DVD gantz_graf deserves a larger audience than it will most likely receive. not only a brilliant piece of what can be labeled "idm" music, a stunning confluence of hypermodern audio and video artistry.