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]
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. He plays the banjo, but he isn't just some hick. He enjoys Chicks, jamming with friends, wide open spaces and fights.
Jazz dispute is billed as a heated exchange between Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Jazz not your thing? Classical music can provoke a range of emotions too. (YouTube alert)
Derek Bailey has died. Here's an interview with him from 2001, and another about playing in Japan. Bailey was considered by many to be the father of free improvisation, beginning with his band Joseph Holbrooke, with Tony Oxley and Gavin Bryars, and, in addition to his voluminous discography, is the author of a book on the nature of improvisation.