The Flaming Lips have been on of my favourite bands for years, however my introduction to them was quite late in their career. I first heard them through their most commercially successful album (In the UK) Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and was blown away by the lush instrumentation and expansive vision of the band. It stands as a great place to get into the band as it represents the perfection of a sound both the band and their producer Dave Fridman had spent years developing.
In The Morning Of The Magicians is a perfect example of this. If Phil Spector is known for creating “The Wall of Sound” where multiple instruments are layered to create massively powerful textures. Dave Fridmann should be known as creating a “collage of sound” where complexity in instrumentation and melody rules. If you take an analytical ear to this track for a play through and think about how many instruments/sounds happen you’ll quickly be dumfounded by its intricacy. A sound that moved with Dave Fridmann to other successful albums like Oracular Spectacular by MGMT.
This level of intricacy in the music can only work with an incredible mix. With so many textures of instrumentation going on at the same time it could very quickly turn into a mess without the incredible use of a keen ear. Instruments are panned across the stereo field and carefully blended together to bring the important textures to the foreground at the times they’re needed.
I still hold this up as one of the best mixes I’ve heard and listen to it regularly as a reference point to aim for. But even if you ignore it for its technically creative decisions you’re still left with a great piece of music that holds its own. Stripping the track away to its core leaves you with a traditional singer songwriter piece on vocals and acoustic guitar which focuses on Wayne Coynes introspection, a theme that feeds the entirety of the album.
I would recommend the entirety of the album but this lesser known track is on of my favourites so give it a listen:
Spotify TOTW Playlist: