The Flaming Lips team up with Siri – our newest digital pop star


The Flaming LipsSiri is our next big star.

She’s featured in The Flaming Lips’ new song “Now I Understand” alongside African singer Eryka Baduas as they join in gracefully singing, “Wayne, I don’t understand,” and, “The moon, the stars, and the sun,” during the first half of the song.

While Siri is very compliant with producers’ demands and will sing anything they like, she lacks a few crucial attributes of the traditional pop sensation – namely, stage presence and a human figure.

In case you hadn’t guessed, we’re talking about Siri – the iPhone application – not a real person (How many people did I fool?).

Not only is Apple already in the business of music distribution with iTunes, but they’ve also branched out into music production.

Siri’s recent role in creating music is not the first time the Flaming Lips have used 21st

Wayne Coyne and Siri

Wayne Coyne holds up his duet partner, Siri

century technology to broaden their experimental horizons. Last February, the Oklahoma City-based band released “Two Blobs Fucking,” a song that requires the listener to play 12 YouTube videos simultaneously. They followed this by releasing a gummy skull that had to be consumed to receive a USB flash drive that held two new songs.

“As these new ways of putting music out in the world come around, it kind of gets your mind thinking ‘what could you do?’” said Coyne in an interview with Mashable.

“What could you do?” indeed. The opportunities are endless. Coyne gives an example in his experiments with playing four songs simultaneously on CDs to create a single soundscape back in the 90s, “It really played in this sort of tumultuous big sound, because it was all around us and there were some unknown pieces of the arrangements jumping out at us.”

Clearly, technology pushes the band’s creative spectrum.

The Flaming Lips aren’t the only band using technology to push the boundaries of conventional music. DJs typically mix popular songs together with music programs like Traktor and Mixcraft to create an entirely new composition. There’s even a duet with Siri on Youtube.

But the term “technology” shouldn’t only apply to Siri, YouTube, USBs and music programs. Conventional instruments like electric and bass guitars often bring another level of experimentation to live concerts.

Live concerts offer a break from the stagnancy of studio recordings and rely on improvisation and spontaneity. Jam bands like The Grateful Dead and Phish are famous for seeing what kind of crazy ideas come out when working with a loosely structured song and a range of conventional and unconventional instruments. The unexpected sounds are unimaginably rewarding.

New technology pushes any artist’s creative spectrum to new levels. Our imaginations get to play in the real world and no song is ever played or experienced the same way twice. And that’s how mix-mashing DJs and bands like The Flaming Lips prefer it.

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