Sunday, August 28, 2005

Love and Hate and the Flaming Lips

I think it would somewhat of an understatement to say that I've run the gamut of emotions with the band known as the Flaming Lips. I think a lot of my problems as an appreciator of music (or my preffered arabic term, thuweeq, which literally means 'taster') can be seen in both embryonic and complex forms in my attitude towards the lips. They are a band I constantly 'discover', in the sense that I hear a song of theirs in a radio or in the soundtrack of a movie, and I am always surprised--no, in fact, shocked--that it was a band I used to listen to but no longer certainly care for. But then you fall in love with the particular song, and your guard just goes down. I liked the lips like 'way back in the day' which at the time seemed a progression away and a development from my love of pearl jam, phish, and the smashing pumpkins. At first they felt more 'sophisticated' as it where, but that sort of grows old when you realize they are more a modern incarnation of the grateful dead. For the dead meets SXSW.

As someone who has been more in the music making side (at least in dilletant fashion), I've gotten a new found appreciation for what it is the lips do. They are being sponteanous in a very orchestrated way. Now this may sound oxymoronic, but what I am talking about is that a lot of ther spontenaity is a product of the studio rather than a live jam a la the dead. Its more like manu chao than jimi hendrix. At some point the lips do let go, they just happen to be wearing loafers and are in front of a mixing board. Lately, I've been jaming beautifally along with my sampler, but the second I turn on the record button on my laptop, I start playing like someone is aiming a gun to my head. Its really hard to let go, even afterwards when you look at what you have and have a certain amount of flexibility. I have over 300 gigs free, I can freakin record ALL my jam sessions and STILL have space for copious amounts of porn and episodes of the OC. I am happy with certain tracks I've recorded with just three fingers, as my index is undergoing a nitrogen oxiding of a wort.

Which comes to my point about the lips; as a band I liked 'way back in the day' they are surprsingly dissapointing in the present. Like Moby, it felt like the thing that was so real in hindsight was actually pretty contrived. It can never be reproduced, or even re-interpreted a la Liszt. It just was and formed the sound of a generation.