Flaming Lips releasing new song with running time of six hours
“Found a Star on the Ground” runs six hours -- yes, that’s hours, not minutes -- and it’s being released as a philanthropic move to benefit two groups in the band's hometown of Oklahoma City: the Central Oklahoma Humane Society and the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Rather than simply generating proceeds for the causes through music sales, the group solicited donations from fans with the promise of incorporating the names of all those who contributed $100 or more into the “song” itself. Sean Lennon was recruited to read the names of those who took the band up on the offer.
The track was recorded over four weeks, growing from what was originally conceived as a 25-minute experiment into what became more than a dozen times that long. To date, the band has raised more than $20,000 with the project, an amount to be split equally between the two beneficiaries.
The trick is how to listen to it, as it would require an five-CD set to accommodate the full length. So the band has made it available with what’s called the "Strobo Trip," a multi-sensory device that’s being alternately described as “A Light and Audio Phase Illusions Toy.” It will include “Found a Star on the Ground” as well as two other new tracks, “Butterfly, How Long It Takes to Die” and “Evil Minds,” which the band promises is “much shorter” than “Found a Star.”
Details on the cost and how and where to buy the Strobo Trip haven’t been announced. They’ll be coming soon on the group’s website, according to a statement issued Monday.
"The Strobo Trip by itself is fascinating,” Lips frontman Wayne Coyne said in the same statement. “I wouldn't be a surprised to hear about some people taking LSD or something while listening to ‘Found a Star on the Ground,’ and playing with the Strobo Trip for hours and hours. We hope you'll enjoy them anyway you like."
The group seems to be taking fellow musical innovator Peter Gabriel at his word regarding the challenge to other musicians he has expressed periodically. “The digital environment is the first one in history where a composition could be three seconds long or three months long,” Gabriel told The Times recently. “In a way, people aren’t really being radical enough with the freedom that the digital environment could provide.”
“At this time, we can confirm the rumors of a single 24-hour-long song are indeed insane and absolutely true,” the Flaming Lips' press release notes. “The Lips are recording the track this month. While lots of rumors, speculations and 'facts' have been circulating, suffice to say official details will be announced once we really know how, when, etc. Stay tuned to www.flaminglips.com for details.”
Obviously, there's no word yet on whether four Strobo Trips will be required to play it.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo of Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne in a bubble during a 2007 performance at USC. Credit: Los Angeles Times.