james houston: big ideas (don’t get any).

Sometimes I find things that give me faith in the future of humanity. This is one of those things.

When Radiohead started an online contest to remix “Nude” from In Rainbows, the goal was to find the same level of ingenuity and creativity in the remixes as Radiohead has always turned out in… well… everything they’ve ever done. For his final project from graphic design at the Glasgow School of Art, James Houston wired obsolete computer parts to play “Nude”. It’s all kinds of amazing.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

For the hardcore geeks, here’s how he created the instruments:

Sinclair ZX Spectrum – Guitars (rhythm & lead)
Epson LX-81 Dot Matrix Printer – Drums
HP Scanjet 3c – Bass Guitar
Hard Drive array – Vocals & FX

As for his inspiration, Houston explains it beautifully himself:

“Based on the lyric (and alternate title) “Big Ideas: Don’t get any” I grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they’re trying their best to do something that they’re not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.

It doesn’t sound great, as it’s not supposed to.”

The video is also posted on YouTube, and trolling through the comments I found this little gem:

“This is so beautiful. The machines looks so enslaved and pathetic, and yet so loyal and endearing. So fucking beautiful.”

That’s passion right there folks. The guy/gal that wrote that comment just had an experience. I can’t think of a bigger compliment to an artist than that. This is the kind of thing that Thom Yorke’s wet dreams are made of. And even though Houston missed the deadline for the contest, he definitely didn’t miss the point.  Radiohead still heard. They posted the link back to his video on Dead Air Space, Radiohead’s blog and social forum. High praise from the men themselves, and deservedly so.

Via Everyone Forever


  1. […] commentaire, trouvé ici, est une petite œuvre d’art lui-même, car il aborde de façon extrêmement poétique et […]

  2. […] unique because it stayed true to the track and to radiohead; its completely buggered. here’s james houston’s […]

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