Showing posts with label Flaming Lips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flaming Lips. Show all posts

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Flaming Lips or Microsoft Paint? You decide.

If you couldn't see the title of the YouTube video, this would be harder than you'd think.

That says something right there.

Yep, what we have here is MSPaint.exe, as opened in an audio-editing program. The Flaming Lips could have saved so much time and effort . . . and come up with pretty much the same thing as their latest release.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The better angels of the iPhone's nature

It takes indie band OK Go (of course) to show us how to use the iPhone -- and tech in general -- for artistic good and not evil.

Their iPhone project, using video, GPS and . . . you, is something called
Dance Through Your City. Basically, what you do is plot out a course that spells out a message from a map's-eye perspective through whatever place you call home. Then you walk it, drive it, dance it or whatever, recording the sights and sounds along the way.

And then OK Go gets to create something really cool out of your handiwork. From the website:

Just download the free app and plan a journey through your city. You can walk, drive, cycle or skate. Take a friend or two and draw out something awesome. Spell out a word or name, write a message to someone, draw your spirit animal or just take a more creative route to work.

Take pictures or video while you do it. Then share the GPS image of your route and the footage with us. Then OK Go will compile the GPS drawings and the best moments of making them into one big celebratory video.

THIS, I imagine, will end up as a stark contrast to the four-letter Dadaism served up for iPhone the other day by the Flaming Lips. And good on Range Rover for sponsoring this bit of OK Go magic.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A flaming zip

The good news is that we're still a creative, innovative nation.

The bad news is it's increasingly in the service of the banal. The dumb. The pointless.

And the profane.

Enter the Flaming Lips' new
YouTube project, something the group is calling a "cell phone symphony." It really is quite clever and innovative -- 12 separate videos that correspond to a single track of the band's new free single. (Profanity alert, etc., and so on . . . click at your own risk.)

The idea is for you and 12 of your closest mates to each download a track, go "one, two, ready, play" . . . and you're the Flaming Lips. Or your iPhones are the Flaming Lips . . .

AND WHAT is this new development in popular music? It's a little avant-garde number called "Two Blobs F***ing."

Paste magazine was all over the story. I hope it was practicing safe keyboarding:
The Flaming Lips have been known to experiment with ideas such as this in the past. The 1997 album Zaireeka is made up of four discs intended to played all at once. Around the same time, the band produced “The Parking Lot Experiments” and “The Boombox Experiments” inviting fans to simultaneously play cassette tapes issued by the band with varying pieces of music through their car stereos and ghetto blasters to create a psychedelic symphony conducted by the band.

Now, the next logical step has come to fruition with “Two Blobs F***ing,” which was specifically designed to be utilized with the mobile devices that dominate our increasingly digital culture. “Imagine the lo-fi symphonic joy that you, along with family, friends, pets, and others, will create at the touch of a button,” reads a press release. “The more devices, the more harmonic possibilities can be constructed. You and your device, at one with the music, become the orchestra, just as the Gods of Technology naturally intended it to be.”
OF ALL the things that could have been done as the first multitrack, interactive, do-it-yourself smart-phone single, we get vulgar nonsense like "Two Blobs F***ing." What could have been genius -- and kind of is genius from a technical standpoint -- ends up being birthed as the idiot offspring of cleverness and a dirty mind.

It's rather like a Philip Glass composition consisting of variations on the theme
"There was a girl from Nantucket. . . ."

Call it the debasement of art. Listen for yourself, though. (I assembled all the audio tracks in a multitrack digital audio workstation so you wouldn't have to . . . or have to try to round up 11 friends with smart phones -- and a high threshold of pain.)

I'M NOT SURE what this is more of, prurient or pointless. Actually, what it's more of is 8th grade -- which is where, unfortunately, too much of our culture's "artistic" sensibility lies.

As it is, "Two Blobs"
just leaves me with . . . nothing. I'm not shocked. Neither am I outraged.

The single didn't have much of a beat, and you couldn't really dance to it. I might give it a 42, Dick.

It didn't leave me smiling, and it troubled me not with deep thoughts. Really, it's nothing. And art -- music -- should not be nothing.

But we're addicted to pushing envelopes for the pushing's sake, even when we have nothing to say. Unfortunately, increasingly, we're a culture that has nothing to say.

It's almost as if we were 300 million blobs mentally masturbating. Call it a mortal sin of the mind.