Touching Radiohead “Nude” Remix: “Big Ideas (Don’t Get Any)”

Radiohead has encouraged fans to remix the song Nude off their latest album, In Rainbows.

The most remarkable remix to come out of this creative free-for-all is arguably James Houston’s remix and accompanying video. He used an old dot matrix printer, hard drives, a scanner, and a Sinclair ZX Spectrum to reproduce the song.

You can watch it below. Note that the first minute-plus is mostly static, so just hold on; it gets better.


Big Ideas (Don’t get any) from James Houston on Vimeo.

I was rather amazed at oddly moved I felt by this music video. Yet after reading Houston’s rationale, below, it makes sense.

[Remixing “Nude” from … In Rainbows] was quite a difficult task for everybody that entered, as Nude is in 6/8 timing, and 63bpm. Most music that’s played in clubs is around 120bpm and usually 4/4 timing. It’s pretty difficult to seamlessly mix a waltz beat into a DJ set.

This resulted in lots of generic entries consisting of a typical 4/4 beat, but with arbitrary clips from “Nude” thrown in so that they qualified for the contest.

Thom Yorke joked at the ridiculousness of it in an interview for NPR radio, hinting that they set the competition to find out how people would approach such a challenging task.

Based on the lyric (and alternate title) “Big Ideas: Don’t get any” I grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they’re trying their best to do something that they’re not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.

Ah. The outdated computer peripherals’ pathetic attempt to save themselves from complete obsolescence by performing this rather melancholy song is probably what makes it so emotional. Is it an implied parallel to the pending irrelevance of old age each of us will personally experience eventually?

You can discuss this work here on Vimeo.


June 7th, 2008
Alan Hogan (@alanhogan).  Contact · About