Some of you by now know I’ve become an obsessive Flaming Lips fan, collecting their every recording and seeking out rare releases I missed along the way. Even though the band reportedly ended their contract with Warner Brothers after their last album, they are still planning on putting out new releases in a variety of unusual ways. They are selling a GUMMY SKULL USB for $150. Yes, you have to eat your way to the music! Edible collectibles are the ultimate limited edition and the ultimate art statement, don’t ya think? (Note: apparently a standard issue 12-inch was put out of these same recordings, but I have yet to get copy.)
Then I heard about their collaboration with an artist or group called Neon Indian — 1,000 limited run, varying color, 12-inch EPs, one side playing 45 RPM, the other at 33-1/3. No labels. I mean… like.. how cool is that? Well it was so cool that they were almost immediately sold out on the Lips’ website when it was announced! Today I got a copy at Amoeba Records. It wasn’t cheap. But I view it as my way of supporting a group that is almost like a big version of your favorite local band. They give a lot to their fans, so only fair to give back.
How is the music? Well, its a continuum of sorts of the sort of spacier sounds found on their last full length album from 2009, Embryonic. The first track — “Is David Bowie Dying?” — sort of turns the chords from “Space Oddity” on its side and morphs into a tripped-out funeral march while singer/band leader Wayne Coyne’s vocals percolate in and out of the mix. The other songs are more ambient (and vocal-less) experiments. Parts of it wouldn’t sound out of place in a soundtrack to a sequel of David Lynch’s Eraserhead. Still other parts remind me no less of Another Green World-era Eno, with slicing distorted electric guitars cutting through hypnotic synthesizer patterns. Some of this stuff also reminds me of pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd circa 1970-71.
The band is clearly going through a period of reinvention. Deservedly so, having created a gorgeous run of four outstanding, high production value albums between 1995 and 2009. It is not surprising that they want to experiment for a while to find a new direction, or at least new inspiration.
My only gripe is that my copy of the EP is a little noisy at the beginning, with some crackling in the first few seconds of the first song. That becomes irrelevant once the whole song kicks in. But then… well… who knows? Maybe those crackles are part of the art concept?
At least I got a PURPLE disc, which I guess is cooler than the green or the grey copies out there. The orange-red ones would be sweetest, however.
At least I have a record in my collection with the title “Do You Want New Wave Or Do You Want The Truth, Part 2.”
Now I just need to locate a copy of that earlier, even more obscure, 12-inch EP, a collaboration with Prefuse 73.
Rock on Wayne. Rock on.
This piece is pretty cool when you open your head to it…