|Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes|
Thom Yorke — Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
λ• The perpetually haunted voice of Radiohead reserved his solo billing for further electronics and beats experimentation.
λ• Harriet Gibsone: ‘Reinforcing his affiliation with the murky worlds of electronic music’.
Born: October 7, 1968 in Wellingborough, England
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards, synthesizer, bass guitar, sampler, drum machine, sequencer, laptop, percussion, organ, drums, turntables.
Notable instruments: Gibson SG, Fender Jazzmaster, Gibson Hummingbird, Fender Telecaster Deluxe, Gibson ES-330, Epiphone Casino, Rhodes piano
Location: Oxford, UK
Album release: 26 September 2014
Record Label: self–released
01 A Brain In A Bottle 4:41
02 Guess Again! 4:24
03 Interference 2:49
04 The Mother Lode 6:09
05 Truth Ray 5:14
06 There Is No Ice (For My Drink) 7:00
07 Pink Section 2:35
08 Nose Grows Some 5:23
λ• All songs written and composed by Thom Yorke except "Guess Again!" by Thom Yorke and Colin Greenwood.
λ• Adapted from the Tomorrow's Modern Boxes vinyl packaging.
λ• Stanley Donwood — artwork
λ• Nigel Godrich — production and editing
λ• Colin Greenwood — beat programming on "Guess Again!"
λ• Bob Ludwig — mastering
λ• Thom Yorke — artwork (credited as "Tchocky"), music and vocals
♦ Album bylo staženo více než 100.000 krát během prvních 24 hodin po uvedení a více než jeden milionkrát během šesti dnů. Tato čísla zahrnují stahování volného torrent svazku; úplné údaje o prodeji však nebyly zveřejněny.
♦ Zákazníci si mohou objednat i "de luxe" vinylovou edici alba z oficiální webové stránky. Album je tisknuto jako 180 g bílý vinyl a zabaleno na míru do antistatického obalu.
♦ Tomorrow's Modern Boxes is a new eight–track record from Thom Yorke.
♦ A record born of silver darkness, pressed onto heavyweight 180g white vinyl completed with undersize 75mm centre labels, housed within heavy white board inner and outer sleeves.
♦ These are printed with a metallic silver laminate then multi–tone black and a striking neon green; the whole is enclosed in a bespoke anti–static shield bag — a metallised laminated material usually used by the electronics industry for protecting components from electrostatic interference. The bag is printed with neon green on both sides, and has a resealable grip closure.
♦ A second pressing has commenced. This item will ship early November 2014.
Thom Yorke's 'Tomorrow's Modern Boxes': A Track–By–Track Guide
Here's what you need to know about the Radiohead frontman's surprise new album
BY DANIEL KREPS | September 26, 2014
♦ Nearly seven years after Radiohead shocked the music industry with their surprise, pay–what–you–want release of In Rainbows, lead singer Thom Yorke has walked another unpaved route for his second solo LP Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, which arrived on September 26th in a similarly stunning fashion. After pouncing on the BitTorrent bundle like most Radiohead fans, here are our immediate thoughts on Yorke's latest disc.
"A Brain in a Bottle"
♦ From the throbbing, headphone–hopping opening notes, it's clear that Tomorrow's Modern Boxes will more likely resemble Yorke's solo and Atoms for Peace work than his Radiohead output. Forget acoustic guitars, this is going to be Yorke and his laptop for the next 40 minutes. Yorke's surprise new BitTorrent–delivered LP is a crash course on the sound he's been developing for the past decade, from The Eraser to The King of Limbs to Atoms for Peace, but with enough new tricks and quality songs to get fans excited for whatever Radiohead is working on in the studio right now.
♦ That sense of looking forward by looking back is found a minute and 45 seconds into "A Brain in a Bottle" as Yorke repurposes those springy notes that propelled Amok's climatic penultimate track "Reverse Running," with the blips shooting back and forth like laser tag. The track itself seems to be informed by those paranoid sci–fi films of the Fifties, right down to the song title, like something you'd seen in a mad scientist's laboratory, and a concoction of strange sound effects that Yorke Frankensteins into a dub symphony.
♦ Anyone who updated their Polyfauna app last month should instantly recognize these metered, distorted beats and those eerie, melancholy piano chords that sound like they wandered off The King of Limbs' "Codex." (In fact, every track on Tomorrow's Modern Boxes had cameos on the Polyfauna app.) While the app version just reduced Yorke's falsetto into an ethereal echo, "Guess Again!" features actual vocals and typically stark lyrics from the Radiohead frontman. "Wild dogs are howling, behind the curtain," Yorke sings with one eye looking over his shoulder. "I'm holding to my children, the creature's staring in… I'm fighting in the darkness, the one who can't be killed." A brief flash of strings before Yorke tauntingly sings "Guess Again!" also provides Tomorrow's Modern Boxes with one of its most organic moments.
♦ Tomorrow's Modern Boxes' mellowest track. "We stare into each other's eyes, like jackals, like ravens. The ground may open up and swallow us in an instant," Yorke coos on this quivering, meditative, Eraser–esque cut. Between "Guess Again!" and "The Mother Lode," two of the stronger tracks in Yorke's solo catalog, "Interference" is an opportunity to catch your breath.
"The Mother Lode"
♦ Clocking in at six minutes, the centerpiece of Tomorrow's Modern Boxes' first half finds a middle ground between the jittery "Stuck Together Pieces" off Amok, Yorke's melodic early solo single "The Hollow Earth," and the penetrating bass and glitchy pacing of The King of Limbs opener "Bloom." At the three–minute mark, a surge of pixelated strings wash over the track, which culminates with some of the best harmonizing Yorke has displayed since In Rainbows seven years ago. Radiohead fans have been forced to confront with Yorke's electronic impulses ever since Kid A arrived at the turn of the century, but it’s moments like “The Mother Lode” that makes Yorke’s six-string abandonment worth it.
♦ This track kicks off like a deformed air raid alarm as vacillating synths and a simple — by Yorke's current standards — beat steer this subdued cut that doubles as a pristine showcase for Yorke's imitable voice. It’s also one of the more uplifting tracks in the Yorke catalogue, despite the singer's pleas of "Don’t let go, don't let go" and "Oh my God, oh my God. All my life is sin, sin, sin." But the real star of "Truth Ray" is Radiohead's longtime collaborator Nigel Godrich. The producer fills "Truth Ray" with simple, breathtaking flourishes that are reminiscent of his work on Beck's The Information: Warm reverb, icy bells, and his incredible ability to pump blood into Yorke's machine–borne music.
"There Is No Ice (for My Drink)"
♦ Some fans might accuse Yorke's new LP of being an Amok B–side dump or Yorke getting some of the IDM out of his system before buckling down to work with Radiohead again, but Tomorrow's Modern Boxes is closer in spirit and sound to Yorke's 2006 solo album The Eraser. For the most part, these tracks don’t sound like throwaway tracks or incentives to purchase Amok singles that didn't arrive. That is, until we arrive on "There Is No Ice (for My Drink)," which is arguably one of the weaker — and definitely the worst titled — track in the entire Radiohead oeuvre.
♦ The song will likely be categorized as a caricature of Yorke's electronic works, and while it could pass for a solid TKOL RMX 1234567 remix, "There Is No Ice" unfortunately clocks in at just over seven minutes, making it the longest track Yorke has recorded since, remarkably, "Paranoid Android." However, Radiohead fans that are nostalgic for Hail to the Thief era B-sides like "Where Bluebirds Fly" and "I Am Citizen Insane" or even The Eraser non–album tracks like "Iluvya" or "A Rat’s Nest" should enjoy Yorke at his most experimental.
♦ The dreamiest, most ambient Polyfauna soundscape is here used as a wordless segue in the Radiohead tradition of "Treefingers," "Hunting Bears" and "Feral." ♦ Childlike chirping straight out of The King of Limbs and desolate, tape–decayed piano strokes are on full display at this weigh station between the overactive, overreaching "There Is No Ice (for My Drink)" and the album’s clear–cut highpoint…
"Nose Grows Some"
♦ It's somewhat ironic that Tomorrow's Modern Boxes arrives the same week that Aphex Twin dropped Syro, his first album in 13 years: Yorke has long been a champion and admirer of Richard D. James, who reshaped Radiohead's entire musical trajectory following OK Computer. "Aphex [Twin] opened up another world that didn't involve my fucking electric guitar, and I was just so jealous of that whole crew. They were off on their own planet," Yorke said in a Dazed & Confused interview. "Nose Grows Some" is the closest Yorke has come to being in "that whole crew," unifying Radiohead's trademark sound with Aphex Twin's forward-thinking electronic music. ♦ "Nose Grows Some" could pass for Yorke singing alongside one of the mellower tracks of Aphex's Selected Ambient Works 85–92.
♦ From "Street Spirit" to "The Tourist" to "Separator," closing out an album has always been a strong suit for Yorke and Radiohead, and "Nose Grows Some" gorgeously continues that trend. Most importantly, this epic track is a beacon for Radiohead fans to rally behind and get excited as the band inches toward completing their much–anticipated ninth studio album. Fortaken: http://www.rollingstone.com/
Thom Yorke — Tomorrow's Modern Boxes: our first thoughts
As the Radiohead frontman releases his second solo album via BitTorrent, our team of writers give their initial verdict.
Tim Jonze: ‘Refinement rather than radical overhaul’
♦ For someone considered to be constantly at the vanguard of inventive popular music, Thom Yorke’s music often sounds, to these ears, to be somewhat … uninventive? No, that’s unfair: Yorke has forged an entirely original sound over the last decade and a half with Radiohead, Atoms For Peace and his solo work. Maybe unsurprising is the better word: when you hear there’s going to be a new Thom Yorke album, you can take a pretty decent guess at what it will sound like, way before you’ve mastered whatever annoying technology is required to actually hear the damn thing. Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is no different in this respect, but familiarity does not come at the expense of standout moments. A Brain In The Bottle is more than just a song created using a Radiohead title generator: instead, it highlights the bizarre raw ingredients Yorke sees fit to conjure up songs with — unsteady bass wobbles up, shards of piercing synth, a tricksy drum loop. The Mother Lode is especially thrilling, because for all its skittering drums and throbbing piano sounds, it boasts a melody that evolves beautifully with each passing bar. It’s early days, of course, but it already sounds like one of Yorke’s most masterful compositions. No doubt the devotees will love Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes — it’s just that, on a personal note, I long to hear something startlingly different from Thom Yorke, a radical overhaul rather than a refinement.
Harriet Gibsone: ‘Reinforcing his affiliation with the murky worlds of electronic music’
♦ For diehard Radiohead–ideologues, shaking off the familiar jab of anxiety that imposes itself is always the first hurdle to overcome when a new Yorke fronted album arrives. Next: the doomish ache of expectancy. After the first few listens a fraught verdict surmises that 50% of the new album is fantastic; The Mother Lode feels like new territory for Yorke — if not only for the curious little jazz scat interlude — while Guess Again! is the fidgety cousin of Down Is The New Up and Nose Grows Some provides a brief human heartbeat from the sometimes robotically enhanced Yorke, his vocals brought to the fore behind a complex, creeping melody; as album endings go, it’s as taunting as you’d expect from a man who releases albums on a lazy Friday afternoon via BitTorrent bundle. The other half is like an extension of Amok (sans that Flea–driven Fela Kuti funk) as opposed to The Eraser — after all, too much technological advancement has happened in the intervening years for the voraciously experimental Yorke to create something comparable to a 2006 release. On Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Yorke’s not replicating previously trodden ground, merely reinforcing his affiliation with the murky worlds of experimental electronic music — and importantly, the fact that he still couldn’t care less about guitars.
Samuel Gibbs: ‘Blazing a trail with BitTorrent bundles ... but less user–friendly’
♦ Thom Yorke is blazing a brave new trail with BitTorrent bundles — the first album to be sold rather than given away through the service. But while the benefits for artists and publishers are obvious, with lower distribution costs and a direct connection to the fans cutting out the middleman, for the music listeners it’s a mixed bag. Music download services like iTunes, Google Play Music and Amazon are established and easy to use, while streaming services are ever more popular. Downloading music via BitTorrent bundles is a much less user–friendly experience requiring special software, a computer and a level of tech savvy that many mainstream music consumers may not have. Once they have the files they are as easy to use as any MP3, but getting them is not as simple as hitting a button. There are benefits for some listeners: you don’t need an account with Amazon, Apple or Google to download the album and a lower distribution cost for the artist could mean cheaper music. Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes costs $6, which costs less than most new music, but whether that is enough to convince music listeners that BitTorrent is the way forward is debatable.
Tshepo Mokoena: ‘The return of the real king of sad boys’
♦ Before Yung Lean and Ryan Hemsworth we had Thom Yorke, the real king of sad boys. Numerous producers have aped the ticks and vibrating swells of his music in the eight years since he released The Eraser, so it feels great to have him back. Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes recalls the textures of his debut’s melancholy, hitting like an emotive punch to the gut that makes you want to cry — in a good way. On a first listen, the album swoops from piano-led slow jams to thudding electronica. ♦ Interference’s wall of sound, humming beneath and overpowering Yorke’s simple vocal line, will surely soundtrack the break-up tears of young singletons for the rest of the year. Yorke intimately coos on–mic on Truth Ray and A Brain in a Bottle, and if DJs aren’t dropping the Mother Lode into the ends of their sets by Saturday night, they’re doing it wrong. Welcome back, Yorke.
Kate Hutchinson: ‘Ticks tomorrow’s modern boxes, and squishes them into new shapes’
♦ If much of modern electronic music is like Ikea flat-pack furniture with the same nuts and bolts and only common sense needed to put it together then Thom Yorke’s is like one of those hand–carved tree–trunk stools — intricate and densely layered, something new to discover with every listen. There’s frenetic, bass-driven 2-step on The Mother Lode, which could easily be the result of watching a load of Machinedrum and Jamie xx Boiler Room sets, lazed-out LA beat scene vibes on Truth Ray — its mournful lyrics (the truth) offset by a gorgeously warm and syrupy synth sound (the rays) — and the wonky ambience of piano–and–static instrumental Pink Section, much of which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Hyperdub compilation. But what sets this record apart, as always, is Yorke’s distinctive and elastic falsetto, ranging from feathery and ethereal to reedy and soulful, and his ability to inject whatever genre he fancies with his very specific Yorkeness. Take, for example, the final techno banger, There Is No Ice (For My Drink), which manages to sound beautiful even though there’s a blithering Berghain–at–11am vocal sample and the deepest drum beat you’re likely to hear this year, all of which makes you wish you were hugging the bassbins and wittering about the lack of cold beverages yourself. It may tick tomorrow’s modern boxes but it flattens them down and squishes them into new shapes, too. © Real king of sad boys ... Thom Yorke Photograph Phil Fisk, Observer
Thom Yorke, London, February 2013.
Peter Beech: ‘A meagre offering from a man who once brought us melodic majesty’
♦ On first listen, this is a characteristic mixture of the compelling, the disconcerting and the dull. The usual Yorke solo–career suspects are here: zombie–shuffle rhythms and lonely, meandering piano lines, as if played on an abandoned set of ivories in a haunted house. First track A Brain in a Bottle has him crooning over a warped bass and showing off a synth so distorted it sounds like a seagull’s call. It’s catchy, though. ♦ The same can’t be said for Guess Again!, which spends too long plodding the barren digital landscape Yorke has clearly decided he wants to make his own. The Mother Lode lives up to its title at six minutes long, though doesn’t build much or go anywhere in terms of dynamics. Things don’t really pick up again until There Is No Ice (For My Drink), propelled by a muffled thump like a house night heard from the smoking area — and that’s when we see a dash of Yorke’s genius, as he garnishes the track with a wordless vocal refrain that lifts it from the gurning grime of the club floor to the heights of an ecstasy epiphany. You wonder who, or actually when, this music is for: it’s too disjointed to dance to, and doesn’t seem rich enough to reward repeated solo listening. The gorgeous final track leads things some way towards redemption: a melody of real celestial warmth rises above Yorke’s congregation of atmospheric clicks and pops. I don’t know if it’s enough. Albums sometimes take a while to work their way into your subconscious, but I can’t help being a bit disappointed: Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes seems a meagre, downbeat offering from a man who brought us the melodic majesty of Let Down and the muttering, murderous menace of Knives Out. Underwhelming.
• The Eraser (2006)
• Tomorrow's Modern Boxes (2014)
|Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes|