Radiohead completists, rejoice: there’s another damn thing you get to collect.
The band has released the first edition — its only edition — of the Universal Sigh newspaper, which is less an actual newspaper than a ‘zine in tabloid form with newsprint. It arrived today overseas and will be handed out in select locations and cities tomorrow in the U.S. in promotion of the second-round release of the band’s latest “King of Limbs” album.
Universal Sigh is not the “newspaper album” that will apparently come with the deluxe order of “King of Limbs,” but is its own entity and website, to which fans can post pictures of themselves holding the thing.
Contained are drawing, pictures, stories and poetry. Rip It Up, based in New Zealand, was among one of the first to get their hands on one of the papers, and has posted a .pdf version of Universal Sigh.
“In addition to a wealth of exclusive artwork by Zachariah Wildwood and Donald Twain, THE UNIVERSAL SIGH features contributions from acclaimed writers Robert MacFarlane (author of the award-winning Mountains of the Mind and The Wild Places, as well as The Old Ways, due out 2012 via Penguin) and Jay Griffiths (winner of the Discover award for best new non-fiction award for Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time, and whose other acclaimed works include Wild: An Elemental Journey, Anarchipelago, and A Love Letter from a Stray Moon),” a release says of the contributions.
But if you really loved Radiohead, you wouldn’t be satisfied with just that, hrm, would you?
The select spots — like at record shops — that the newspaper will be available are posted on the site (c’mon, guys, its not like Brooklyn’s like Staten). Its another way that Radiohead has been able to reach fans at all levels — the mp3 version of album was available without much waiting a mere six weeks ago, priced just below $10. Tomorrow, there will be vinyl, CD and digital retail versions up. The deluxe drops in May.
This little gesture is an expansion on the band’s aesthetic artistic work — Zachariah Wildwood and Donald Twain appear to be the new alter-ego pen-names of longtime collaborator Stanley Donwood and Thom Yorke — a completion of vision that’s free, and a digression from having to actually listen to a Radiohead album in order to appreciate Radiohead. Yorke may even be literally handing you your copy, too, if he does an encore of his appearance in London today.
I still listen to “King of Limbs,” though I still prefer other Radiohead albums over it. But the Universal Sigh handout intrigues me, like something in its pages is the start of a game that will move somewhere into the pit of the internet, or a there’s still further codes of “Limbs” in need of cracking.
What do you think of the ploy? Will you be in line for one?