Photo By: Noah Nickel via Apple Music
Radiohead recently released the triple-disc production KID A AMNESIA in early November. Alongside it, a free interactive audio-visual exhibit available on PS5, macOS and Windows has been released to display the new music and it’s fantastic.
The third disc of the recently released Kid A Mnesia is really where all the eyes are on this new Radiohead project. Featuring b-sides from their 2000-2001 era wherein the alternative rock legends dropped one of the most beloved albums of all time, Kid A, as well as Amnesiac shortly after.
Kid Amnesiae is an interesting addition to the Radiohead oeuvre, but you shouldn’t get your expectations too high. Aside from a few notable points, these new songs on disc three are undeniably leftovers.
Starting with the truly amazing moments on this disc, “Pulk/Pull – True Love Waits” is a version of A Moon Shaped Pool’s final track that succeeds on all fronts. The freaky dissociative beat that comes from the original “Pulk/Pull” off Amnesiac creates a great contrast with the brutally sad lyrics and voice of Thom Yorke.
The single that was released with the announcement of this triple-disc back in October, “If You Say the Word,” still holds up as a fully-fleshed out track. Another song that could easily sneak its way onto the original records that these b-sides emerged from is “Fog – Again Again Version” which has a meditative keyboard with serene synths and gentle lyrics from Yorke.
The final standout is a stripped back version of Kid A’s “How to Disappear Completely” — Yorkes’ on record calling this song his favourite Radiohead song ever created — called “Hot to Disappear into Strings.” It’s emotionally impactful, just like the original, but because of the lack of vocals and percussion it comes off more longing and melancholic, like a slightly more electronic, futuristic sounding Godspeed You! Black Emperor song.
However, the disappointments on this disc aren’t ignorable. A few of these tracks should have stayed on the cutting room floor, like the utterly pointless “Alt. Fast Track” which features a monotonous fast-paced guitar section and bland shakers. It almost sounds like a song made for a Zumba class by artificial intelligence. The two “Untitled” tracks aren’t anything to write home about, and it makes sense why; they serve as great background songs for the digital exhibition but on their own they don’t have enough of the gusto that other tracks on the disc do.
Die-hard fans of the band will enjoy this release, but if Radiohead isn’t really your thing in the first place, you might want to skip this one.
KID A MNESIA EXHIBITION
The virtual audio-visual exhibition that builds off the release of this record is a wonderful experience that brings to life Amnesiac and Kid A’s glacial, digital/urban dystopian aesthetic, the original artwork for both being done by English artist Stanley Donwood, through dynamic three-dimensional exhibits.
Surrounding these sometimes beautiful, sometimes terrifying exhibits are songs and interludes from both albums, as well as from the new batch of b-sides that make up the third-disc of Kid A Mnesia.
The music is enhanced greatly by the visual representations, and it’s far more interactive than one might expect. In rooms that display the main songs, you can move your avatar to certain spots and by doing so, different instrumentals come to life. Sometimes the whole composition of a song will rearrange itself depending on how you navigate through a room.
There were hardly any glaring visual issues throughout the exhibition and no points where the graphics seemed inconsistent. It feels like every inch of space has been accounted for, with tons of little pieces of artwork, lines of poetry, creative NPCs and realistic texturing for real life objects involved.
This is a must-play for fans of the band and it more than the lacklustre spots on Kid Amnesiae.