The Flaming Lips' new single is a YouTube symphony that requires 12 smartphones to be properly heard.
Released on Valentine's Day, the audio tracks that make up "Two Blobs Fucking" are spread across a dozen different YouTube videos. Each of the 220-second clips must be played in sync to create the complete tune - a concept riffing on the Oklahoma band's previous interactive works "Parking Lot Experiments" and "Boom Box Experiments." The Lips' 1997 album, Zaireeka, spread song components across four discs for four stereos.
Whereas the band's previous interactive symphonies called upon listeners to sync tracks on car stereos, boomboxes and home systems to create glorious melodies of noise, rock and art, "Two Blobs Fucking" is a digital affair for iPhones and Androids.
The Flaming Lips' sonic experimentation is chronicled in the Heady Nuggs box set, out in April.
Image courtesy Warner Bros. Records
When synced, the new single synthesizes a brain-bending, spastic electronic intro that melts into one of the band's patented spacey grooves.
Each track is unique, but Layer No. 9 contains the song's human touch: A man telling a weird story.
The tale recounts a dark sci-fi (or drug-induced) exploration of a building foreman's office and concludes in a bizarre discovery that gives the song its jolting name. Occasionally the narrator's tone is subtly altered; the shifts imply he's not completely human.
To occupy the eyes, each of the 12 video clips includes brightly colored, visualization-style interpretations of the sounds.
The array of tracks will no doubt inspire derivatives, remixes and spinoffs. If you want some guidance before trying to pull off your own smartphone symphony, check out the hilarious instructional video above, in which Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne and lead guitarist Steve Drozd reveal how to assemble the song as they intended.
P.S. Want more on the Flaming Lips' deafening back story? Five-disc vinyl and CD box set Heady Nuggs: The First 5 Warner Bros. Records 1992-2002 goes on sale April 16, also known as Record Store Day.
The box set's beautiful noise - featuring brilliant releases Hit to Death in the Future Head, Transmissions From the Satellite Heart, Clouds Taste Metallic, The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots - ought to bring you up to speed quite loudly.
Take a listen below to Clouds Taste Metallic's classic anthem "Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus With Needles" for more on that noisy rock score.
Additional reporting by Scott Thill.