Radiohead: In Rainbows

Bloody hell. That’s amazing.

*listens to Reckoner again*

*bursts into tears*

34 thoughts on “Radiohead: In Rainbows

  1. rutty says:

    It’s much better than I would have hoped for. They’re still taking risks and it’s paying off in spades, although I do wish that there were a few big guitars in there somewhere.

    Still, well worth the £5 I paid for it ;¬)

  2. Ronnie says:

    Haven’t heard it yet (although I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews) but when I do download it, I shan’t pay anymore than the 45p admin fee. Mainly because I can see myself shelling out for the big fancy version in December.

  3. Tony Kiernan says:

    >>I shan’t pay anymore than the 45p admin fee
    According to the BBC, that’s waived if you put in £0 as there’s obviously no transaction to administer. Of course, if you pay for the huge f-off version you get the download.

  4. Mike Robinson says:

    I grabbed the download for free to check it out, since I’m not the biggest radiohead fan (I have a couple of their other albums). It’s pretty good, I’m going to go back and give them some money for it.

  5. Tony Kiernan says:

    From No Rock ‘n’ Roll Fun

    The canny men of Radiohead

    In a response to the criticism of the lowish bitrate of In Rainbows, Jonny Greenwood has tacitly acknowledged the online hoopla was intended really as promo campaign for the definitive, physical item:
    I don’t know, we talked about it and we just wanted to make it a bit better than iTunes, which it is, so that’s kind of good enough, really. It’s never going to be CD quality, because that’s what CD does.”

    Now, since “you shouldn’t encode at a CD rate because the CD will get jealous” isn’t a line of argument a grown-up would essay (besides, distribution of digitally encoded music files is also ‘what CD does’ – and yet that didn’t stop In Rainbows being digitally encoded and distributed online, did it? – we can only assume this is a slightly veiled way of saying “sure, we’re not going to give it to you in CD quality because we want to sell the CDs”. In other words, the ground-worryingly historic opportunity the band offered fans was to decide how much they’d pay for an advertising campaign, not a record.

  6. Gary says:

    Hmmm, not convinced by that. Until firms start flogging FLAC or some equivalent format, if you’re serious about sound quality you ain’t going to get it online. And of course, most music is still sold on CD so not selling on CD at all is just daft.

  7. mupwangle says:

    I’m not sure about the album yet (I downloaded it for free cos I didn’t have me wallet. I may pay for it yet. :-) )

    I’m liking it more than the last one (which I couldn’t get into at all)

  8. Squander Two says:

    Ach, I still think it’s all been downhill since The Bends. I’m sure I’ll hear some of it in a soundtrack one day, and some of it might not be too bad, but actually going out of one’s way to hear Radiohead is one of life’s great disappointments.

    Anyway, I thought an album encoded at CD quality takes up 750MB. Did I miss something here?

  9. Gary says:

    Anyway, I thought an album encoded at CD quality takes up 750MB. Did I miss something here?

    Well, they’re offering something in a format that isn’t proprietary, that’s free from DRM, that sounds perfectly good on an ipod and they’re doing it at a time when the RIAA wants $150,000 *per song* if you swap CD tracks illegally. Offering that for nowt if that’s all you want to pay seems like a pretty good deal to me.

  10. Gary says:

    Boomkat sell their online stuff as FLAC files for a little more.

    No disrespect to Boomkat, but I suspect their bandwidth bills for that are lower than for Radiohead’s website, let alone Radiohead’s downloads.

  11. Squander Two says:

    Yeah, but what I meant was that I don’t understand this:

    > since “you shouldn’t encode at a CD rate because the CD will get jealous” isn’t a line of argument a grown-up would essay … we can only assume this is a slightly veiled way of saying “sure, we’re not going to give it to you in CD quality because we want to sell the CDs”.

    Where does this idea that you can compress music at CD quality come from? You can’t. That’s part of what “compress” means. The criticism simply makes no sense.

  12. mupwangle says:

    >>Ach, I still think it’s all been downhill since The Bends.

    For me I think the peak was OK Computer. Since then, from an album POV, I think that they weren’t as good although there were some really good songs. I didn’t like Amnesiac much and I couldn’t get into Hail to the Theif at all. (Gary, you can hold your tongue here since I was the one that introduced you to them! If I remember correctly you thought they were shite)

    >>Anyway, I thought an album encoded at CD quality takes up 750MB. Did I miss something here?

    Only when completely uncompressed. (and technically most albums wouldn’t take more than 500Mb with 10 tracks. 160KBPS is equal to (or better than) most MP3 stuff out there. And you don’t have to pay for it if you don’t want to. There isn’t really much scope for reasonable complaint. The bitrate is higher than a lot of “proper” download sites. Who is claiming that it is CD quality?

    To me this album seems to be more about tunes than making experimental bleepy noises. The last couple of albums have not been something that you really like after the first listen. You might think it is OK but don’t like. This one is actually (so far) pretty nice.

    The sad bit is that this album has “sold” more than 300,000 copies in its first day – but they don’t count as part of the chart.

  13. Gary says:

    If I remember correctly you thought they were shite

    I still think Pablo Honey is shite. Because it is. Fact!

    The last couple of albums have not been something that you really like after the first listen.

    I disagree, of course.

  14. Squander Two says:

    Pablo Honey‘s their second-best album. (Fact!)

    > For me I think the peak was OK Computer.

    Yeah, a lot of people think that. I appear to be slightly unusual in that I went off them because of OK Computer, not after it.

    I haven’t heard Thinking About You or Anyone Can Play Guitar or No Ripcord in over ten years, yet I could still hum any of those tunes; they’re still near the front of my mind. Whereas I couldn’t remember most of OK Computer a couple of hours after hearing it. And — what’s worse — didn’t want to.

  15. mupwangle says:

    >>Didn’t like Punch-Up at a Wedding

    Oddly enough, I quite like it.

    >>I appear to be slightly unusual in that I went off them because of OK Computer, not after it.

    Ruth’s the same. She thought the bends was ace and hated everything after.

    >> haven’t heard Thinking About You or Anyone Can Play Guitar or No Ripcord in over ten years, yet I could still hum any of those tunes;

    I still listen to Pablo Honey songs every so often. I would include stop whispering in there too.

  16. tm says:

    I’ve always found that each radiohead album contains two or three songs that I really, really like and could listen to all day on repeat without getting bored, along with a roughly equal numbers of songs I hate so much I literally can’t bear to listen to them, plus the usual filler.

    Hail to the theif didn’t have either – which is probably why I actually like it less than the bends and other records i have to skip through half of to avoid ejecting the cd and hurling it out of the nearest window.

    I loathed OK computer for a long time, but that turned out to be that I’d never managed to stick with it long enough to hear or hear by accident the songs i liked – they were sort of in the middle.

    >No, no… a watch, a lady’s watch!

    Damn, I could have sworn it was a leatherette hand bag…

  17. Stephen says:

    Where does this idea that you can compress music at CD quality come from? You can’t. That’s part of what “compress” means. The criticism simply makes no sense.

    Ahem. Apple Lossless? Not capable of compressing as much as MP3 obviously, but no lost bits. Just like zipping a file. You wouldn’t be too impressed if a zipped Word doc was missing every third letter, would you? GIF is also a lossless, compressed format. You can compress quite a lot by removing redundancy and using a lookup table to compress common runs of data. Compression does not imply loss.

  18. Squander Two says:

    Compressing things that involve lots of characters does not imply loss. Compressing sound does. This is because writing simplifies: every time I say the word “biscuit”, it sounds slightly different; I’ve never said it the same way twice; and yet every single occasion of my saying it would be written in exactly the same way. Because, with writing, all the simplification has already been done, compression can be performed without any loss — the loss is still there, but it happened during the act of writing: all those tiny nuances of expression that are in everyone’s voice, gone. With sound, all that stuff’s still in there, and the only way you’re going to compress the sound is by grouping similar, not identical, things together. Try Zipping a sound file in any format and you can see this demonstrated: you end up with a file the same size. I’ll believe lossless compressed music when I hear it, but I haven’t yet.

    And GIF is lossless? I take an image with a couple of million colours in it, turn it into an image with 256 or maybe even just 16 colours in it, and nothing is lost? In what sense?

  19. Stephen says:

    It’s certainly true that writing is itself a kind of compression, and it’s also true that the ASCII character set is a lot more compressible than digital audio (or digital video) but it doesn’t follow that digital audio is therefore incapable of being compressed losslessly. In evidence: at least 14 lossless codecs out there already, including Apple Lossless Encoder (ALE), FLAC etc.

    If you want to hear ALE, just download iTunes, set it to rip losslessly, and rip your favourite CD. File will probably be only half the size of uncompressed WAV, but will still contain all the data.

    There are lots of ways to compress. Some are lossy and some aren’t. Excluding the lossy ones is going to result in a larger file. But all of the data in the raw file will be preserved in the decoded compressed file.

    Yes, GIF is lossless, in the sense that a 256-color bitmap image can be GIF-encoded, and the decoded image will have all of the data in the original bitmap image. Converting a million-colour bitmap into a 256-colour bitmap will result in data decimation, obviously. But that’s not a step in the GIF encoding. GIF is not suitable for photographic image compression for the very reason of its limited colourspace. But for web graphics with only a few colours, it’s ideal. As it compresses best with long runs of identical bits, web graphics with blocks of colour can be compressed very efficiently.

    Perhaps a better analogy is TIFF v JPEG. A TIFF image is still smaller than a raw file, because some compression is used; but no lossy compression. So a decoded TIFF has all the data that was present in the raw file. A JPEG uses lossy compression: the file is much smaller, but the decoded image does not contain all the data present in the raw file, as some data has been decimated.

  20. Alex says:

    Stephen, Squander Two uses predictable pedantry. Have a look at the his posts and note the vibes of “smug” and “please punch me for being so annoying”.

  21. Stephen says:

    There is no reason why you couldn’t use something like run-length encoding to compress a digital audio file, and the resulting compressed file would not lose any of the original data. There’s nothing special about digital audio, like digital images or digital anything it’s just a lot of numbers. Those numbers can be manipulated in various ways. Those ways do not change depending on what the numbers represent.

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