The Flaming Lips and the Plastic Ono Band rang in 2012 performing “Give Peace a Chance” together. Earlier this week Lips-associated visual arts collective Délo Creative debuted an official video of that performance (which follows their two prior NYE live videos: an epic cover of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” featuring Wilco’s Nels Cline, and “Is David Bowie Dying?” featuring Neon Indian). Click here to watch all three recent official live videos and to read more about the Freak Out and other NYE 2011-2012 shows.
Today a second new Lips Ono video debuted, a computer-graphic visual trip of their recent studio original, “Brain of Heaven.” Watch the making of the video above and the finished work further down in this post. Additionally, a sneak peak of the Lips’ “Super Moon Made Me Want To Pee” (featuring Prefuse 73) video unofficially debuted yesterday. UPDATE February 26th The “Super Moon” video has been removed as its producers, Okay Videos, arrange for an official premier in the near future. More details on that video, okay-video.com, and the”Super Moon” song is here and a still from the video of a nude holding a skull (how Flaming Lips is that?) is below.
The Flaming Lips recorded the last of their monthly 2011 releases in late November/ early December – a collaborative project with The Plastic Ono Band. The four songs – including 45 rpm B-side “Atlas Eets Christmas” (a re-recording of the Lips’ secret Christmas album title-track that streamed on the band’s “infinite Christmas” website – more on that here) – were issued on an EP originally sold only at the above mentioned New Year’s Freak Out #5 (though the full release has been officially free streamed by Yoko since January 4th at imaginepeace.com). The two groups created three new songs for the A-side of the EP:
- “The Fear Litany” – based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel Dune
- “Do It” – hear it above, to be re-released on the Flaming Lips’ forthcoming collaborative double album
- ..and “Brain of Heaven” – watch the new video, an edit of the EP version, below and read Wayne Coyne’s handwritten lyric sheet here.
Almost as soon as “Brain of Heaven” was recorded – possibly even before the mixing was finished – Wayne tweeted about its video in the making and teased fans with clips of some of the coolest graphics in any Lips videos. Finally, after two-and-a-half months of waiting, it is here:
The video below shows the recording sessions for the Lips/ Plastic Ono Band EP – including “The Brain of Heaven” at 4:32. Watch the Lips drive from their home sweet Oklahoma to their studio in upstate New York while watching a Black Sabbath doc, and then to Sean Lennon’s studio. Charlotte Kemp Muhl – co-leader with Sean of Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger and recently a member of the Plastic Ono Band – sings the epic, angelic refrain in “Brain of Heaven.” At 1:57 they record “The Fear Litany” – highlighted by a “Whole Lotta Love”-inspired freak-out section with Sean Lennon bowing the guitar ala Jimmy Page at 2:20.
“The Fear Litany’s” title and lyrics are taken from the “litany” in Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel Dune. Typically referred to as “The Litany Against Fear,” the character Ben Gesserit affirms in the book:
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.“
The book and the rest of the Dune Universe – including David Lynch’s 1984 movie Dune, various video games, a 2000 mini-series and other media – have a rabid cult following. For the uninitiated, read this quote guide to get an impression of why its fans recite the characters’ dialogue like other people do Bible verses…
Below are behind-the-scenes photos and tweets of the Lips sessions with the Plastic Ono Band:
Black and white photos below and above by Sean Lennon. See more at SeanLennon.tumblr.
The above video shows The Flaming Lips exploring sounds in the studio as they play with Sean Lennon’s drum machine and a synth he gave to them. From this evolved “Do It,” one of four 2011 tracks to be re-released on the Lips forthcoming double album along side nine new collaborations with the likes of Ke$ha, Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, Nick Cave and others (MUCH more on this will be posted over the next few days; follow updates at twitter/FutureHeartDay and facebook/TheFutureHeart). Hear the finished version mix of “Do It” towards the top of this page.