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Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead Launches Classical Label Octatonic Records

Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood Launches Octatonic Classical Label

Radiohead multi-instrumentalist and film composer Jonny Greenwood has launched a new record label called Octatonic Records, which will focus on recordings by contemporary classical musicians.

In a statement posted to the label’s website, Greenwood wrote that the project was inspired in part by the “remarkable musicians” he encountered in “the contemporary classical world” while working on film soundtracks. “It’s a whole world out there,” Greenwood said in a statement. “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,” he continued.

Octatonic’s first releases will be a recording of Bach’s Partita No. 2 performed by violinist Daniel Pioro, and an album featuring composer and Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon’s piece Industry on one side and Greenwood’s own Water on the other. Those releases will hit streaming services on September 24, with vinyl orders shipping October 21. According to the statement, a future release will include the music of Steve Reich.

Greenwood wrote that Octatonic will only release recordings by soloists, or small groups. “As it’s my party,” he wrote, “[I’m] 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.”

“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,” Greenwood continued. “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.'”