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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Enter The King of Limbs

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If your musical taste is similar to what Walski likes, then this is some news to celebrate. And no, the title of the post is NOT about a rampaging serial killer that chops off his victims’ arms and legs…

Radiohead, perhaps one of music’s most important bands in existence today, just released their 8th studio album yesterday. Titled The King Of Limbs, Radiohead’s latest is currently available in two digital-only formats, 320k-CBR MP3 and lossless CD-quality WAV.

Album art for Radiohead's The King of Limbs, image hosting by PhotobucketWalski has so far only heard one track from the album, entitled Lotus Flowers, which according to Wikipedia is the fifth track on the release.

This is not the first time Radiohead has done a digital-only release. Their first foray into music-release-as-a-download was with their 7th (and preceding) album, In Rainbows.

The big difference between the two? The King Of Limbs has a fixed price tag, depending on the download format, while In Rainbows was a virtually-free download.

‘Virtually’ because fans wanting to download the album were given the choice of paying whatever they wanted for it. In most cases, that ‘whatever’ turned out to be zilch. But here’s the surprising bit – surprising to some, at least – although most people opted to get it for free, the total online revenue generated before the physical release of In Rainbows exceeded the entire revenue generated by Hail To The Thief, their previous album (as reported by NME).

Another difference between In Rainbows and The King of Limbs: this time around Radiohead opts to foray into the world of digital downloads on their own, without any label involvement. 
(track listing, and a taste of The King Of Limbs, in the full post)

The King Of Limbs has 8 tracks in total (info obtained from Discogs):

  1. Bloom (5:15)
  2. Morning Mr Magpie (4:41)
  3. Little By Little (4:27)
  4. Feral (3:13)
  5. Lotus Flower (5:00)
  6. Codex (4:47)
  7. Give Up The Ghost (4:50)
  8. Separator (5:20)

Now, Walski isn’t sure what the entire album will be like (he plans to download TKOL later today), but here’s a taste: Lotus Flowers, the fifth track.

So far, the reviews of The King Of Limbs have been mixed, but one thing is for certain: groundbreaking this album will probably not be. Neil McCormick, in his review for the The Telegraph, is of the opinion that TKOL may be Radiohead’s most “immediately accessible” release yet.

Then again, being that the bulk of the Malaysian music-listening audience is probably of the Belieber variety (yes, Walski’s being condescending), The King Of Limbs may sound to most as 37 minutes-plus of mindfuck bizarro tuneage.

If Walski can find the time, he’ll do a review after listening to the album. As it is, he still owes Antares a review of 2nd Coming, so it is quite possible the TKOL review may not be in the very immediate future.

But listening to Lotus Flowers, Walski does get the impression that the album will be rather sparse and minimalist compared to other Radiohead outings. Thom Yorke still sounds as dreamy as always, but maybe this time around, the musical layers may be akin to a smaller onion compared to previously.

So, how to get your grubby hands on this latest release? Simple – just go to The King Of Limbs website, click your corresponding world-area location on the map, then choose the format you wish to download. As mentioned earlier, two digital formats are available:

  • 320k-CBR (Continuous Bit Rate) MP3 – £6.00 (equivalents: USD 9.00 / € 7.00)
  • Lossless CD-quality WAV – £9.00 (equivalents: USD 14.00 / € 11.00)

Apart from the Sterling Pound, you also have a choice of paying either in US Dollars or Euro. Looking at the current exchange rates this past week, though, paying in €uro might be the best bet for us Malaysians.

Incidentally, you can also pre-order the newspaper album format, which includes two clear 10” vinyls, a CD, and loads of artwork. Pre-orders include the MP3 or WAV download, and are priced at £30.00 and £33.00 respectively ( USD48.00 / USD53.00, or € 36.00 / € 39.00). The physical format’s shipment date is mentioned on the site as May 9, 2011.

Truth be told, as tempted as Walski is to purchase the newspaper album format of The King Of Limbs, he’s a bit wary of whether or not it gets through Malaysian Customs.

So, Radiohead fans, rejoice – your four-year wait is over!

And Beliebers, if you dare, take the sonic challenge of The King Of Limbs – there may be hope for your musical enlightenment yet…