Monday, December 6, 2010

See The Leaves by The Flaming Lips

From the album Embryonic, this track is a powerhouse of driving beats and industrial electronic manipulation which suddenly collapses into a minimalist sound with only sparse vocals and a bare synthesizer. The song was characterized by shades of grey and white facing off against each other, almost pushing and shoving in contrasting lines, with splashes of a deep red, probably a result of the sudden and intense cymbal crashes. 

This coat by JulyS has a certain industrial complex quality, with an asymmetry that speaks to the irregularity of the digital effects. The zipper slashing across the front reflects the aggressiveness of the song's opening and the thick wool reminds me of the coldness of the track's bare and exposed end. 

This photo by Brenda Manthe is almost exactly what I saw when the music began.  The colors are right on and I was struck by the unevenness of the lines and how they alternately emerge from the left and right sides of the image as though facing off across a sort of battlefield. 

This vintage sweater from Decades seems to go against all the rawness and irregularity of the song with its structured and repetitive stripes.  However the song's melodic line is almost literally repeated for the entire duration of the song (there are no sections like a conventional song with an AABA pattern, instead it is AAA... with variations). The alternating stripes speak to this repetition, while the different colors reflect the changes and shifts that occur with each melodic repetition through alterations in the electronic effects.


For being one of the most imaginative and other-worldly musicians around, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne's style is surprisingly refined, almost always involving a well-tailored three-piece suit. He even sports this look when performing in temperatures hovering around 100 degrees like when I saw them in Holyoke, Massachusetts, this past summer. The suits often have a subtle plaid print or stripes and are usually paired with contrasting vests, striped dress shirts, and undone plaid bow ties. So while the immediate affect is classic and upscale, the mixture of prints and colors is disarmingly light-hearted, thus speaking both to his music's headiness as well as its pure joy.

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