Radiohead: 'The King of Limbs'
The King of Limbs is the eighth studio album by English rock band Radiohead, produced by Nigel Godrich. It was self-released on 18 February 2011 as a download in MP3 and WAV formats, followed by physical CD and 12" vinyl releases on 28 March, a wider digital release via AWAL, and a special "newspaper" edition on 9 May 2011. The physical editions were released through the band's Ticker Tape imprint on XL in the United Kingdom, TBD in theUnited States, and Hostess Entertainment in Japan.
Following the painstaking recording and relatively conventional rock instrumentation of In Rainbows, Radiohead employed a more spontaneous process to develop The King of Limbs, sampling their own recordings with turntablist techniques inspired by DJing. The band provided little information on the album, not even a track listing, before its release, and did not discuss it in detail until nearly eight months later. Singer Thom Yorke described it as an expression of "physical movements" and "wildness"; the title King of Limbs possibly refers to an oak tree in Wiltshire's Savernake Forest, thought to be 1,000 years old.
The King of Limbs has the shortest running time and track listing of any Radiohead album. As with 2000's Kid A, no singles were released, though a music video was released for the track "Lotus Flower". It received mostly positive reviews from critics, though opinion was more divided than for In Rainbows.The King of Limbs was nominated for five categories in the 54th Grammy Awards, including Best Alternative Music Album, and was named one of the best albums of 2011 by several music journals. It charted in the top ten in several countries and became a bestseller on vinyl.
The album was followed by a remix album, TKOL RMX 1234567, and a live video, The King of Limbs – From the Basement.
Radiohead announced The King of Limbs on their website on 14 February 2011 with a release date of 19 February, five days later. On 18 February, the band's blog, Dead Air Space, published a song from the album, "Lotus Flower", with an accompanying music video uploaded to Radiohead's official YouTube channel. The band released the album later that day - a day earlier than first announced - with guitarist Ed O'Brien writing: "It's Friday... It's almost the weekend...It's a full moon....You can download The King of Limbs now if you so wish!"
To promote the CD and vinyl release of The King of Limbs, Radiohead distributed a free single-issue newspaper, the Universal Sigh, at record shops across the world on 28 March 2011. It is separate from the "newspaper" edition of The King of Limbs. Artist Stanley Donwood described the Universal Sigh (the title taken from lyrics to "Bloom") as "a 12-page tabloid, printed using web-offset lithography on newsprint paper, just like the LA Weekly or London Lite, or Daily Mail." The paper features artwork, poetry, and lyrics, along with short stories by Stanley Donwood, Jay Griffiths and Robert Macfarlane. The free newspaper concept came from Donwood witnessing "a seething mass of humanity at the top of the steps down to Oxford Circus tube station, where amongst the heaving throng of commuters were valiant distributors of London Lite and Metro, and the Evening Standard, attempting to hand them out." Donwood and Thom Yorke appeared in person to distribute copies of the Universal Sigh to fans in London.
In June 2011, Radiohead announced a series of remixes of tracks from the album. These remixes and others are compiled on the remix album TKOL RMX 1234567.[
Radiohead performed The King of Limbs in its entirety for The King of Limbs – From The Basement, broadcast in July 2011 and released on DVD and Blu-ray in December 2011.