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Radiohead Guitarist Jonny Greenwood Launches Classical Label Octatonic

Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead
Andrew Benge/Redferns

Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead performs at Emirates Old Trafford on July 4, 2017 in Manchester, England. 

The imprint will release its first two volumes on Sept. 24.

Radiohead co-founder, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jonny Greenwood is launching a contemporary classical label, Octatonic Records.

Nestled under Council Records, the imprint has announced two releases, out Sept. 24 digitally and Oct. 4 on vinyl. While Volume 1 includes Michael Gordon's "Industry" on the A-side and Greenwood's own "Water" on the B-side, Volume 2 contains Daniel Pioro playing Bach's "Partita No. 2." 

Greenwood says he was inspired to start his own imprint after befriending other film composers: "It's a whole world out there." The multi-talent has composed scores for several Paul Thomas Anderson-directed films including There Will Be Blood in 2007 and Phantom Thread, the score for which earned him an Oscar nomination in 2018. He's also crafted compositions for The MasterInherent Vice and more.

The label will record only soloists and small groups. Greenwood adds that "as it's my party," he will include some of "my own ideas that have never been recorded, including Miniatures from Water for piano, violin, string drone and tanpura."

"My intention is to capture these musicians playing the pieces they love, both contemporary and ancient, and release the recordings on vinyl and streaming services, as regularly as I can," Greenwood explains. "The sessions I’ve already had with some of these friends have been glorious. Any excuse to hear them play is a pleasure. But, more importantly, I want to produce a great, intimate recording, that captures the music in a way in a way that does justice to the musician’s talent, and the composers they choose to interpret.
 
"I hope these recordings encourage more people to see live classical music, and to take an interest in the featured artists," he continues. "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."

On Sept. 10, Greenwood curated and performed in a show at London's Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Late Night Proms. The performance including the world premiere of the 27-minute piece Horror Vacui for solo violin and 68 strings, which is intended to transfer the characteristics of electronically-created music to the acoustic arena.

Greenwood has additionally composed for orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Contemporary Orchestra.