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‘The Soft Bulletin’ gets the orchestral treatment on new Flaming Lips live album

Earlier this year, The Flaming Lips brought their stage show spectacular to the Sydney Opera House, celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of indie rock’s most far-out albums, The Soft Bulletin.

Not long after that they announced the impending release of a live album, documenting a performance at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre with a 68-piece orchestra and a 57-member chorus.

The Flaming Lips and the Colorado Symphony have released a live album version of 1999 psychedelic rock masterpiece The Soft Bulletin.

They teased the album by releasing the dazzling rendition of the opening track Race for the Prize in October but now, we have the full album to sink our teeth into. The Soft Bulletin was a big album for the Lips and for indie rock at the time, notable for its almost adverse direction compared to alternative rock contemporaries.

Abandoning guitars for the most part, the album embraced complex orchestral arrangements (mostly performed on purposefully detuned keyboards) and soundbites sampled from cassette tapes the band were compiling.

Driven by their decision that they wouldn’t waste their record label’s money with professional studio time in favour of their creative freedom, they built their own studio, engineered everything themselves, and spent a good two years experimenting with a vast array of textures, attitudes and emotions.

The end result was an album destined to be, if not celebrated for being a ground-breaking indie rock album, re-purposed for a full scale orchestral performance.

The live album is available now.

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November 30, 2019