Ra­dio­head re­leases hacked mu­sic to ben­e­fit en­vi­ron­men­tal group

The Prince George Citizen - - A & E -

Ra­dio­head an­nounced on Tues­day that it had re­leased 18 hours of pre­vi­ously un­heard ma­te­rial from the stu­dio ses­sions for its land­mark 1997 al­bum, OK Com­puter.

Ac­cord­ing to guitarist Jonny Green­wood, the English rock band de­cided to re­lease the out­takes as a way to thwart ran­som-de­mand­ing hackers.

Green­wood wrote on the Ra­dio­head Face­book page that some­one had stolen a Mini Disc ar­chive be­long­ing to frontman Thom Yorke last week and de­manded $150,000 while threat­en­ing to re­lease the ma­te­rial.

“In­stead of com­plain­ing – much – or ig­nor­ing it,” Green­wood con­tin­ued, the band mem­bers de­cided to up­load the tracks to Band­camp, where they will be ac­ces­si­ble for the next 18 days.

MINIDISCS (HACKED), as the dig­i­tal al­bum is called, costs 18 pounds and will ben­e­fit Ex­tinc­tion Re­bel­lion, an en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist group.

The de­tails war­rant­ing the “HACKED” de­scrip­tor are fuzzy at best – Green­wood him­self used the word “re­port­edly” while de­scrib­ing the hackers’ mon­e­tary de­mands, and it is un­clear whether phys­i­cal discs were stolen, or whether Yorke’s com­puter got hacked.

Some Red­dit users got ahold of the leaked ma­te­rial last week and cat­a­loged it on­line, in­sist­ing that they were not the hackers and that “the ru­mour about the XL Record­ings in­tern steal­ing the tracks right in front of Colin Green­wood as he sat there do­ing noth­ing is un­con­firmed, but most likely un­true.”

What we do know is that the al­bum con­sists of 18 tracks, most of which are around an hour long. While Ra­dio­head mem­bers in­sist in both the Band­camp de­scrip­tion and in Green­wood’s post that they might bore lis­ten­ers – “Never in­tended for pub­lic con­sump­tion... it’s only tan­gen­tially in­ter­est­ing,” he wrote – fans seem to think oth­er­wise.

One Band­camp user wrote, “Blimey ! That’s the best pos­si­ble re­ac­tion for such a huge hack ! You’ve hacked the hackers and did it with so much hu­mil­ity and hu­man­ity !”

Green­wood was ca­sual about the dra­matic re­lease.

The al­bum is “very, very long. Not a phone down­load,” he warned fans, adding: “Rainy out, isn’t it though?”

OK Com­puter met with uni­ver­sal praise upon its re­lease and helped forge the leg­end of a band that would be­come one of the most ac­claimed of the two decades that fol­lowed.

The al­bum’s themes of a tech­driven dystopia seemed to pre­dict the com­ing ex­is­ten­tial crises of the com­ing cen­tury; it was added to the Na­tional Record­ing Reg­istry in 2014.

AP FILE PHOTO

Thom Yorke, left, and Jonny Green­wood of Ra­dio­head per­form dur­ing the band’s head­lin­ing set at the 2012 Coachella Val­ley Mu­sic and Arts Fes­ti­val in In­dio, Calif.

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