Thom Yorke is a busy man. Frontman of Radiohead, Atoms For Peace, and prominent solo artist, 46-year-old Yorke (his birthday is today! 10-7) has been involved with the music industry since the late 1980’s and has become a main contender in the now overwhelmingly digitalized world of music. From clumsy grunge imitation on Pablo Honey to the sleek and trembling AMOK, Thom Yorke seems to serve as a restless catalyst for creativity, meandering curiously from the sinister schizophrenic pulsations of Kid A to the lush, atmospheric cacophony of guitars of In Rainbows.
Not only has Yorke experimented with a plethora of sounds and spawned a generation of radio-friendly melancholy piano alt-rock imitations (Coldplay, Keane, Muse), he has continually challenged the sprawling tentacles of both industrious record labels and listeners alike. Although digital music is a convenient format for the general population of music-enthusiasts, piracy latches onto the opportunity of MP3 music, becoming parasitically harmful to musical artists of all genres. Thom Yorke has openly spoken out against this, most famously through the release of Radiohead’s album In Rainbows, which allowed customers to pay whatever price they desired for the album; this proved successful, as it was deemed Radiohead’s most profiting album to date. As a new Radiohead album is set to be released sometime in the near future, Thom Yorke decided once again to experiment with his own material, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes by maintaining its monetary value on a site called “Bit Torrent”—the only place the album can be purchased since the release date of September 26th.
Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is a recording of eight tracks, straddling the border between EP and full length album, much like its predecessor three years earlier King of Limbs. It costs six dollars, and can only be purchased—as mentioned before—on “Bit Torrent”. Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes opens up with the magnetic “A Brain in a Bottle”, with echoing, looping, layered vocals reminiscent to that of “Feral”. The heavily synth-keyboard operated “Interference” is characteristically melancholy, with haunting vocals done by Yorke himself. Yorke quietly laments “Oh my God, oh my God” on the unusually personal “Truth Ray” which leads into the tribal beats of “There is No Ice (For My Drink)”. And as the album continues, the listener comes to realize that they got exactly what they came here for—no alarms, and no surprises. Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes contain glistening instances of falsetto from Yorke with the level buzzing and whirring of his experimentation with equipment in preparation for a new Radiohead album. While not a standout album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes serves as a satisfactory appetizer and perhaps even a precursor of what is to come from the illustrious quintet, Radiohead. But most likely, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is a false lead and is, in fact, nothing like the upcoming album from Radiohead— predictably unpredictable, once again; which is why Thom Yorke is considered one of the most innovative musical minds of the 21st century, and one of my favorite artists.
To order the MP3 bundle or vinyl package of Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, visit http://tomorrowsmodernboxes.com/.