Last week, 18 hours of material from Radiohead’s OK Computer recording sessions from 1995 to 1998 were leaked online. The group has long been transparent about their process, often releasing demos, b-sides, and outtakes from their catalog. But these files, which were allegedly minidiscs hacked from Thom Yorke’s personal collection, were a vast treasure trove of creativity-in-progress from their most ubiquitous album. Among the many cool things contained in the data dump included an exciting first pass of their b-side “Lift,” originally unveiled their expanded 2017 reissue of the LP OKNOTOK, along with early versions of later Radiohead songs like “Nude,” “Life In A Glass House,” and alternate mixes of every album cut.
However cool and exciting these releases were for diehards, they still weren’t initially shared with the consent of the band. Because Radiohead largely hasn’t seemed to mind their music being shared for online, they officially released all of the leaked sessions on Bandcamp. In a statement, guitarist Jonny Greenwood explained, “We got hacked last week—someone stole Thom’s minidisk archive from around the time of OK Computer, and reportedly demanded $150,000 on threat of releasing it.”
“So instead of complaining—much—or ignoring it, we’re releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion," he continued. "Just for the next 18 days. So for £18 you can find out if we should have paid that ransom.”
On the Bandcamp link, Thom Yorke wrote of the release, “it’s not v interesting [and] there’s a lot of it.” Proceeds from the sessions will support Extinction Rebellion, a non-violent resistance movement combating climate change and ecological collapse. If you download the minidiscs, the tracklists are unorganized so these enterprising fans have made a Google Doc with timestamps to help people sift through all the material. Listen below.