Masters in the art of hypertext
May 16, 2006 8:53 PM   Subscribe

Radiohead's inventive use of the Web, integrating music and art with deceptively archaic programming. Cryptic web-labryinths, flickering video-collage (click minotaur), The Byzantine Ziggurat ("THE STRATEGIC DEFENCE INITIATIVE IS A ZIGGURAT IN HYPERSPACE THAT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH."), a "disturbing focus on psychological profiling," consumer survey, Spin With a Grin, The Eraser. Don't forget to consume.
posted by bukharin (34 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It's all nothing compared to the utter madness/majesty of the late Waste-Game. Goodness.
posted by setanor at 8:57 PM on May 16, 2006

Okay, that's cute.

Why does everyone click on 'avoid' eventually, I wonder? (I did too.)
posted by blacklite at 9:00 PM on May 16, 2006

Wow. I'll have to click through all of this when I'm feeling particularly neurotic. Nice post.
posted by jmhodges at 9:03 PM on May 16, 2006

I've seen stuff like this before.
posted by delmoi at 9:10 PM on May 16, 2006

Speaking of random stuff to click on [nsfw]
posted by delmoi at 9:11 PM on May 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

And of course there was The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time.
posted by kyleg at 9:21 PM on May 16, 2006

The point is that it's an inventive means of putting art on the internet and using the internet's limitations of form as art. A few of the links were done years ago, 1998-2001. Radiohead have such a distinct and refined aesthetic that has a kind of broken, senseless quality. This band had a grasp of the nature of this dark age since, well, before most of us recognized that dark ages had begun. For me, following their art on the Internet has really contributed to my understanding of their music and their quiet sense of humor.
posted by bukharin at 9:22 PM on May 16, 2006

Yeah, I was going to include that, kyleg, but didn't want to link to just an advertisement for the DVD. That DVD is a masterpiece, btw.
posted by bukharin at 9:23 PM on May 16, 2006

delmoi... that shit made my night ;-)
posted by cgs at 9:24 PM on May 16, 2006

delmoi, I see your dickcream, and raise you cookie thievery
posted by thanatogenous at 9:27 PM on May 16, 2006

Nice post, bukharin. Yeah, I love Radiohead/Donwood's aesthetic, which is Victorian and apocalyptic at the same time. And Kid A rewired my neurons.
posted by digaman at 9:37 PM on May 16, 2006

OMG my favorite band has a cool website too.
posted by smackfu at 9:44 PM on May 16, 2006

I love this, from the ad for the DVD:

The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time!

Twenty-four frighteningly bizarre films, hosted by the controversial Swiss emigré Chieftan Mews!

Available NOW at the utterly reasonable purchasing price of £12!

"...merely a moment of power-crazed delusion" - The Guardian

"I've not quite had time to watch it yet" - Eversley & Bramshill Parish Magazine

"a moving and tender account of one man's struggle to come to grips with, well, anything" - The Walcot Street Journal

"Chieftan Mews is a blast. He should be given his own secure unit" - Psychopathology Monthly

"...hugely...successful...effective...capture(s) the spirit of guerilla filmmaking" - Selective Quotation Chronicle
posted by bukharin at 9:44 PM on May 16, 2006

Radiohead fans are well-served by the Internet. W.A.S.T.E. sells pit-seat tickets to concerts ahead of time for any fan die-hard enough to tourettically refresh a ticket sales page that gives no indication that it will ever sell tickets. is also a great resource. And here's how to use Radiohub to download high-quality SHN recordings of shows.
posted by bukharin at 9:51 PM on May 16, 2006

Oh dear
Im already confused by the ordinary and really dont have time on my hands these days to revel in intentionally confusing/clever web art like all this. I'll leave it to the art skool kids.


(But I do like OK Computer)
posted by celerystick at 9:54 PM on May 16, 2006

Damn, I already knew about the radiohead insanity.


delmoi and thanatogenous, you're both assholes for not making these FPPs a long time ago.
posted by mullingitover at 10:45 PM on May 16, 2006

Just as I started getting over the fact that I didn't get tickets to their show in Berkeley, I see this post...damn! Stupid Radiohead.
posted by fishbulb at 11:51 PM on May 16, 2006

I glanced at radiohead's site, but I just stared at this(SFW,music) for five minutes. Thanks delmoi.

(no offense to the fpp - radiohead's style just doesn't get me off)
posted by pinespree at 12:06 AM on May 17, 2006

This is nice:

Q. What do you think of Radiohead sites that seem to rely heavily on your artwork? Is that a good or a bad thing?

Donwood: i dont mind them at all. its kind of a bad thing i suppose, but only cos its a shame people think my stuffs better than their own.
posted by digaman at 12:26 AM on May 17, 2006

What others have said. I distinctly remember going to Radiohead's site on one of my first trips through the intarweb back in, oh, 1996 or so. And it was pretty cool then as well.
posted by bardic at 12:29 AM on May 17, 2006

Wow, you've been sitting around on the Internet all day since 1996. Sweet, dude.
posted by bukharin at 12:43 AM on May 17, 2006

Yeah. I came for the Radiohead and stayed for the pr0n. Or vice-versa.
posted by bardic at 12:52 AM on May 17, 2006

Don't forget, Donwood's site. Donwood's paintings sell for upwards of 25,000 pounds. Sorry that last one is a shameless self-link.
posted by josephtate at 12:59 AM on May 17, 2006

Sheesh, I though that RH's site was kind of common knowledge, or I would have posted it ages ago too. Hours and hours of.... fun. In the best possible way.

It's all nothing compared to the utter madness/majesty of the late Waste-Game. Goodness.

Yeah, nothing like feeling a little bit like a rat in a maze with the cheese hovering just out of sight. You can just imagine them there at w.a.s.t.e., laughing... Let's put the North American tickets on sale at 3:19 a.m. PST! Let's release the rest of the tickets in dribs and drabs with no warning! Let's watch our servers melt down when the UK tickets go on sale!

Btw, I'm still trying to trade a ticket for the rescheduled Amsterdam show on August 28th for London on the 19th.
posted by jokeefe at 1:36 AM on May 17, 2006

Oh, and just as a btw, last night's show in Wolverhampton started off with somebody hitting the wrong button somewhere, and the first bars of You and Whose Army? being interrupted by a fire alarm announcement telling everyone to leave the building. It was a perfect Radiohead moment.
posted by jokeefe at 1:41 AM on May 17, 2006

Sheesh, I though that RH's site was kind of common knowledge, or I would have posted it ages ago too.

Yeah, I like Radiohead's site, and the FPP is well-written, but it is at least a triple post.
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:41 AM on May 17, 2006

It's a great site for rooting around in, a world of ideas, like taking a peek in a genius's notebook.
posted by Acey at 4:41 AM on May 17, 2006

eustace, that's a very persnickety definition of "triple post" -- i.e., any mention of the band whatsoever. The second link you cite is clearly about Hail to the Thief the album, and the first link -- from five years ago -- only mentions the RH home page as a subsidiary link. This FPP is about the band's hypertext aesthetic, which certainly deserves a call-out.

It's interesting to think of how differently I would feel about the band if their visual aesthetic was, say, very slick and futuristic, or neon-bright, or something. They have achieved a seamless integration of sound and visual presentation, which is rare.

I saw Radiohead at Madison Square Garden a couple of years ago, and their stage set blew my mind as much as the music. It was also one of the best performances I've ever seen, and I've been to hundreds of concerts, from Janis Joplin to Bill Evans to John Cage and beyond. I had the same feeling at that concert that I had seeing the Talking Heads big band: that I was seeing the best band in the world at that moment, a precision lens for clarifying the zeitgeist.
posted by digaman at 6:37 AM on May 17, 2006

a world of ideas, like taking a peek in a genius's notebook.

Nicely put.
posted by digaman at 6:38 AM on May 17, 2006

Ah, it also bears mentioning that my friend and I watched the live TV coverage of the Katrina debacle with Kid A as the soundtrack. It was a perfect moment.
posted by digaman at 6:41 AM on May 17, 2006

delmoi and thanatogenous, you're both assholes for not making these FPPs a long time ago.

A world where "" and/or "" constitute valid FPP on MetaFilter is not a world in which I want my children to grow up.

I really don't want to instigate one of these
posted by thanatogenous at 7:26 AM on May 17, 2006

On a similar vein -
posted by StuMiller at 12:09 AM on May 18, 2006

Good stuff. I've always liked Radiohead's eye for design, packaging, videos, etc. didn't know they were so down with the web. (Which is distressing - I hate that a band who make music I find so fucking bad that I'd rather chop my nose off than listen to it have a non-musical aesthetic that appeals.)

Oh, and am I going doolally or did I really just see someone repeatedly shitting leeches into someone else's mouth after following delmoi's link?
posted by jack_mo at 9:35 AM on May 18, 2006

any mention of the band whatsoever

What? The exact same site, with a lot of the same content, was posted in a FPP twice, and said site is the homepage of a popular band, so popular and well-known, that it didn't even occur to many MeFites who've been reading it for years that it was FPP material.
posted by eustacescrubb at 11:49 AM on May 18, 2006

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