radiohead polyfauna

Radiohead are maybe not the first artists you’d think of who might make a mobile app, but the internet has been abuzz this last week since the Oxford, England band shared Polyfauna, a collaboration with English design studio Universal Everything.


Sonic and visual rabbit-holes happen to be something of a hobby for Thom York and company as one may find by digging around past Dead Air Space entries. Click on one word in a dizzying puzzle of dada-ist imagery and land yourself in another smoke screen, only to fall through more sound-atmospheres and visual deconstructions of meaning and a uniquely alternate version of hyper-modern society. All of this may have started back around the time the band agreed to have Grant Gee follow them around on their second post-OK Computer world tour, and continued as the band insistently stuck with friend and producer Nigel Godrich while Thom (whose brush-in-hand-alias is Dr. Tchock) refined their visual aesthetic direction with painter and artist friend (who has done the artwork for pretty much every release Thom has been involved with) Stanley Donwood up until now.

Polyfauna is much more interactive and engaging as The King of Limbs’ first track Bloom is pulled apart into sonic oblivion as you move slowly forward through a crisp, two-dimensional Radiohead-flavored hallucinogenic trip.

Dark shapes of some sub-conscious world float through Donwood-esque trees, the color of your world changes as you “follow the red dot” from one dimension to another. Your device’s accelerometer allows you the ability to look around and change your direction; you can even draw spooky black lines in front of you which explode into spiky or boxy serpents. It’s not difficult to get completely lost in these very pretty creations and the breadth of these environments. Radiohead and their collaborators have never been known to half-execute anything and their work always comes through nicely. Even if the end-goal is only fun.

Check out Radiohead’s The King of Limbs just about anywhere music is available and Universal Everything’s other fascinating design work here.

Polyfauna is available for iOS and Android.

Thom Yorke Stanley Donwood



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