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]
Belbury is an English market town with a picturesque 11th century church, and some notable modernist architecture, including the Polytechnic College. None of which exist except in the constructed world of the Ghost Box record label, whose founder Jim Jupp records under the name Belbury Poly, and publishes the Belbury Parish Magazine. [more inside]
Want to know what's going on in African electronic / dance music? The BAZZERK blog will help bring you up to speed. Chock full of fun, fresh stuff. [more inside]
Rei Harakami, the Kyoto-based Japanese electronic musician from Hiroshima, passed away suddenly on July 27. He was 40 years old. [more inside]
The Avant Garde Project is a series of recordings of 20th-century classical, experimental, and electroacoustic music digitized from LPs whose music has in most cases never been released on CD, and so is effectively inaccessible to the vast majority of music listeners today. Until now, of course. [more inside]
Composer Samson Young leads an impromptu iPhone orchestra in one of his pattern sequencer compositions at the 2009 Hong Kong Biennale, and once more here at the Hong Kong Art Fair 2010.
Tristan Perich has released a new 'album'. Tristan Perich is a recording artist that doesn't sell recordings. (Previously.)
Been hypnotized lately? Anthony Burril's video for Acid Washed's "General Motors, Detroit, America" is pure eye candy.
The Works of Swede Mason: "Jeremy Clarkson," "Get in the Back of the Van," "Jungle All The Way," "Bill Wyman's Metal Detector," "Put the Lotion in the Basket, *" "Got The Sucka," "The Gobshite, *" "Squashed Thingy," "Spare Me The Madness," and the pair of tracks based on Neighbors deaths "Coffee And Croissants" and "Todd....Dead." [more inside]
Ralf Hütter of Kraftwerk gives a rare interview to the Guardian, who also have a rather nice interactive feature on the bands influence.
Get in on the stream while there's space, because Autechre is doing a boomtastic live DJ set full of 80s electronica, mashed up weirdness and god knows what else... more links posted in the thread as I think of them but I have to hit post now because it's time sensitive.
By a weird coincidence, after reading this interview in New Scientist with three of the engineers who made electronic music possible, I walked by a poster for a documentary film about Bob Moog. One of my earliest memories of electronic music in the 1970s was an elementary school music teacher who was really into Wendy Carlos' and Isao Tomita's early arrangements of classical works for synthesizer. Of course, electronic music history goes back to the 1920s with the theremin developed as a classical instrument. It has its own web portal filled with lots of good stuff. And now for something slightly different, Conlon Nancarrow wrote piano compositions that could not be performed by human hands, demanding the use of a player piano.