After years of scoring films and working with composers, Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood is launching his own contemporary classical record label. Titled Octatonic, its first releases will be available as soon as next week.
“I’ve decided to start documenting the musicians I encounter in the contemporary classical world,” Greenwood explained on Octatonic’s official website. “Since doing my first soundtrack, I’ve become friends with lots of these remarkable musicians, as well as more familiar with the music they play. It’s a whole world out there.”
“I stand in awe of classically trained UK musicians: a 20-something carrying a cello case will always be more impressive than someone with a guitar,” added Greenwood, who earned his first Oscar nomination for last year’s Phantom Thread score. “It’s just harder to do. It takes more commitment, and the sounds they make are so limitless — for all that the instruments they play are ‘traditional.'”
Daniel Pioro playing Bach’s “Partita No. 2” will be one of Octatonic’s first two releases. The other features Michael Gordon’s “Industry” on the A-side and Greenwood’s own “Three Miniatures from Water” as the B-side. “Three Miniatures” was performed live for the first time during Greenwood’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert this past May.
These two projects will hit streaming services September 24th; head to the label’s official site for pre-order details. A composition from minimalist composer Steve Reich is also planned for the future.
Today’s news follows Greenwood’s new compositional piece, Horror vacui, which debuted on BBC’s Proms series last week.
Watch a trailer for Octatonic below, followed by Greenwood’s full statement on the label.
Today, @JnnyG has launched @OctatonicRecs geared towards championing contemporary classical music. Limited pressings of Volume One and Two are available to pre-order now. Click here to find out more: https://t.co/f7Jqiz6LKr pic.twitter.com/Yd5fUXxw3r
— Radiohead (@radiohead) September 17, 2019
“This year, I’m launching a new record label, called Octatonic Records.
I’ve decided to start documenting the musicians I encounter in the contemporary classical world. Since doing my first soundtrack, I’ve become friends with lots of these remarkable musicians, as well as more familiar with the music they play. It’s a whole world out there.
I’m only recording soloists, or small groups, and as it’s my party, including in the releases some of my own small ideas that have never been recorded, like ’88’ (for solo piano), and ‘Miniatures from Water’ for piano, violin, string drone and tanpura.
My intention is to capture them playing the pieces they love, both contemporary and ancient, and release the recordings on vinyl and streaming services, as regularly as I can. The first two releases should include music by Bach, Messiaen and Michael Gordon, and we have plans to record some Steve Reich in our next session.
The sessions we’ve already had with some of these friends have been glorious – any excuse to hear them play – but more importantly, I want to produce a great, intimate recording, that captures the music in a way that does justice to their talent, and the composers they chose.
I stand in awe of classically trained UK musicians: a 20-something carrying a cello case will always be more impressive than someone with a guitar. It’s just harder to do. It takes more commitment, and the sounds they make are so limitless – for all that the instruments they play are ‘traditional’.
I hope these recordings encourage more people to see live classical music, and to take an interest in the featured artists. And, whilst a recording can only ever be an approximation of the real thing, I’m going to work hard to produce recordings that encourage you to see this music as something vital and passionate.”