Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips have always put experimentation first, and use their creativity as a vehicle for discovery, even if the new ideas interrupt a popularity with fans achieved from the previous endeavour. Recent behaviour confirms this mandate is as strong as always. From diverse projects such as making a film, and releasing an album that covers Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club in its entirety, who knows what could be next? Shortly off the back of releasing their Beatles homage, Coyne and Stephen Drozd take a romantic stroll away from their Flaming Lips bandmates to join with members of Linear Downfall to produce a brief but characterful side-project, all joined under the notion that they are tunnels through the galaxies – the Electric Würms.
Musik Die Schwer zu Twerk certainly covers a lot of moods within its short thirty-minute life-span, and augments our sense of time. I Could Only See Clouds hypnotises immediately with a repeatedly descending drum fill around the kit which disorientates your gravity as the high pitch melody meanders. Wild chords stab the texture along with contrary bass patterns, trying to shake the motion, but the spirit perseveres. Futuristic Hallucination immediately transforms the listener’s environment. Down this rabbit hole, smudgy keyboard chords cycle through the sonic panorama, creating a feeling of discomfort before falling into the clearer, but no more comforting, path of The Bat. The pulsing bass of this march bulges in the mix, carrying a weary chant siting timid observations.
Living signals a new act in the journey, materialising from a pregnant pause with a more optimistic and upbeat drive, subtly alternating a quantised beat with a skipping hi-hat. This central track of the record ignites colours of Kraftwerk as its additional sounds shimmer as they rise and relent, like mountains and valleys through which a vehicle traverses. The vocal this time is abducted into a fused blend with a paralleling synth sound. Transform!!! shows self-awareness in every way as it injects the remaining energy into the final scenes of the record, sheading the feeling of a travelling momentum for a sense we are at our destination, gyrating amongst the parade of psych-funk.
Ultimately, this adventure concludes with a glistening cover of the YES song, Heart Of The Sunshine. By including this tribute on the record alongside their mostly impressionistic jams, Electric Würms seem to celebrate music as a transitory expression with MDSZT. Rather than it being a flag claiming a forever place in the memory, which, their tremendous pop-amalgams at the turn of the millennium were, this recording acts as one unrelenting ride to be immersed in at each ever present moment. Once something has occurred it is gone and replaced with the new sensation. Even the title of the collection itself is a joyously tossed remark; a wink to a divisive popular trend and like the record, absurdly here until the next episode.
Both The Flaming Lips and Linear Downfall have always been committed to creating immersive live performances. Witnessing The Flaming Lips unbound in their true nature at one of their expansive and colourful sonic-carnivals casts a suspicion that the album-format may no longer be a fair representation of what they have to offer. Previously logistical and economic limitations for distribution may have made such an output the way to spread the radiation of their colour. Now, with technological advances, multi-media tools are more readily accessible to create with, the resulting formats are also affordable to distribute, and those same formats are more easily accessible by fans. The Flaming Lips’ Zaireeka experiment showed an understanding that their audience, with an encouraged sense of communal attitude, could bring together sound systems to play the four disks of the record simultaneously, as per the direction of the artist. With their song release Found A Star On The Ground, The Flaming Lips exploited the limitless duration possibilities of a digital format by creating a solid six hour experience. Both themselves and Linear Downfall are known to dream far and long into the distance. With MDSZT their first few happy steps together are witnessed.
Reviewer: Tom Hollingworth