Back in our youth, we were big ol’ Radiohead fans. Still are, but maybe not with the same fervor that we used to possess. It takes a certain amount of energy to read Greenplastic on an hourly basis, collect every b-side ever made, and randomly hop on a plane to LA because your friend has an extra ticket, drive that same day for seven hours to Northern California, see the band, then drive the seven hours back and almost miss your flight back. But even with these latest, weirder albums, we’ve still hung on tight, in no small part because we’re still totally enamored with the band’s attention to design. That’s why we were thrilled to find out about the new Thom Yorke solo album, which has just about the best cover we’ve ever seen and, in keeping with Radiohead’s interesting web development, once again you’ve got a bewildering, utterly fascinating site that’s nothing if not beautiful in that well-thought-out, rough-around the edges style Yorke and his artist cohort Stanley Donwood are known for. We tracked down this page on Donwood’s site, with more images and an explanation of his process:
This medievalised vision of apocalypse in England’s capital city was carved on 14 pieces of linoleum with one small cutting tool. The original blocks make up a picture about twelve feet long, which has been painstakingly hand-burnished on to beautiful Japanese Kozo paper, as it has so far proved impossible to print this using a press. Thus the edition is extremely small; only 8 have been made.
Each of the 14 sections were first proofed on a huge cast-iron printing press, an Albion made in 1860, scanned, and printed on to large aluminium/polymer composite panels, which in turn were caged with diamond-pattern wire, reminiscent of the Evening Standard headline-boards that infect the capital with their own dire predictions. Each of these panels are 75 cm wide x 140 cm high.