One of my favorite DVD-Audios is The Flaming Lips - Yoshima Battles the Pink Robots. No one seemed to quite get the total amount of fun that could be had with six channels as the Flaming Lips, and that was the album that got me listening to this band. I dutifully went out and bought other Lips albums including of course their acclaimed The Soft Bulletin.
Well one day hanging out in my local Best Buy (I am a shopaholic man after all), I spotted a NEW version of The Soft Bulletin. Yes, there it sat on the shelf as a TWO DISC SET with DVD & CD. If this was not enough to make me happy, I soon noticed that the DVD disc was my favorite format DVD Audio 5.1 Surround Sound. It also includes a Dolby Digital Surround Sound track for those of you who have a home theater with a surround sound, but no DVD audio player. Yes, you can be surrounded by the Flaming Lips again with The Soft Bulletin.
What Formats are Included?
DVD-Audio - Advanced Resolution 5.1 surround sound in 24 bit mastered at 96 kHz and Advanced Resolution Stereo 24 bit 88.2 kHz.
DVD-Video Bleep bop visualizations with Dolby Digital Surround Sound 16 bit 48 kHz and Dolby Digital Stereo 16 bit 48 kHz.
CD Stereo 16 bit 44.1 kHz
How does the Surround Sound Mix Sound?
Well in a word, awesome!, but lets go into a few tracks, so you will know why I say go out and buy this Disc and put it right next to your Yoshima Battles the Pink Robots CD&DVD package! This section of my review is on the Advanced Resolution 5.1 Surround Sound mix.
Race for the Prize Harmonious tones and drums burst forth in the left and right channels with that familiar Flaming Lips sound. Suddenly from the far right, the vocals kick in locked in heated battle for the cure that is the prize. From the center they're just human with wives and children. The spacey guitars and synthesizers wail in the left and right channels. The next verse comes in again from the right with backing vocals in the rear channels. Then center channel the eerie chorus again sounds with an echo like effect. I liked this song from the CD, I LOVE IT in 5.1 Surround Sound on the DVD-Audio.
A Spoonful Weighs a Ton and though they were sad, they rescued everyone, they lifted up the sun, a spoonful weighs a ton This lone vocal floats around in the front against a sparse background. Not for long of course, soon crashing guitars come in from the sides, accompanied by a heavy thumping drum from the center channel. The front stage makes use of all three channels, letting the vocals and the guitars and keyboards seem to just float around.
The Spark that Bled I accidentally touched my head, and noticed that I had been bleeding, for how long I didn't know I hate it when that happens! The organ sounds from behind the vocals here and choral vocals spread out across the stage. From behind me, a guitar plays, and orchestral elements soon well up from everywhere! Then from the left I stood up and I said yeah! then repeated from the right. Now he is singing from behind me, and now he's in front, no he's behind me again! I feel like I am on a rotating platform with the orchestra all around me going one way, while the singer runs the other!
Slow Motion begins with slamming drums from the center, quickly expanding to all sides. The vocals come from the sides, and go back into the center, then out again. Soon the drums and piano are coming at your ears from the left and right sides. This song doesn't quite have the same hook as the first few, but its good nonetheless.
What is the Light? Bass notes creep about the sound stage before Coyne begins to sing, inquiring about the strange light surrounding someone. The drums and bass pick up gradually. Soon the song is just kind of suspending you in this sonic field. Perhaps we are now surrounded by this light of which Wayne Coyne sings.
The Observer Single guitar notes sound from the left, a steady slow drum beat sounds from the left. A sense of anticipation builds. Another guitar comes in from the center, only playing two notes at a time at spaced out intervals. The drum beat goes left, right, left, right. Now a piano tingles somewhere off in the distance. The Lips again create another sonic soundscape that is easy to get lost in. Orchestral notes now join in from the sides and build up. Except for the joining chorus of oooh oooh oooh oooh this piece is purely instrumental, and it's one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Waitin' For A Superman Another cool song that bounces around, back and forth and sort of floats through your head. It has a mellow hypnotic sound.
Also on the album:
Suddenly Everything Has Changed
Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
Sleeping on the Roof
The Spiderbite Song
All the tracks have that mysterious, spatial fantasy element that seem to define much of the Flaming Lips later work. I really enjoy the bands style, I have described it in the past as Pink Floyd with a sense of humour.
Dolby Digital Surround Sound Track If you have DVD-Audio, you will notice a difference, the advanced resolution track does sound better than the Dolby Digital track, but if you haven't heard DVD Audio, you won't know what your missing, and the DVD Dolby Digital surround track has the same surround sound mix I loved. Perhaps to make up for a bit less sonic detail, you also get to see a psychedelic light show of sorts while you listen. During each song, a flurry of colorful patterns play on your monitor. They remind me of the visualizations on my computer media player.
Race for the Prize is included in the DVD-Video section under extras. Bits of the band playing are mixed with a man covered in EKG monitors participating in a foot race. For some reason Wayne is backed by a group of men in raincoats holding Tubas, even though no Tubas are in this song. Strange.
Waitin' for a Superman This video begins with what appears to be a rain of molten lava, which fades to a man and a boy sitting on a park bench. The man is sad, and he is comforted by the boy. I believe that they represent father and son, and the boy plays at being a super hero. Coyne, who plays the father, reads a sad letter and runs into a pole. Hmmmm.
Album Outtakes includes three songs not on the original album; 1000 ft hands, The Captain, and Satellite of You. I liked the extra songs!
Radio Sessions This included four songs done for BBC radio broadcasts. They are: Up Above the Daily Hum, The Switch that Turns Off the Universe, We Can't Predict the Future and It Remained Unrealizable.
The bonus songs are all fun, and just more of the stuff that makes the Flaming Lips cool! If you like the main album, you will like the bonus songs.
The Compact DiscThe CD included in this CD/DVD package is just that, it is the original album The Soft Bulletin. So when you aren't mellowed out listening to the Surround sound mix on your DVD player, you can pop the regular album in your car, computer for conversion to MP3, or whatever else it is you do with your CDs!
Summary I was very pleased to see another fine album by the Flaming Lips re released in the DVD audio format. Again, even if you do not have a DVD audio player, this is well worth the purchase even if you just play it on a regular DVD. The extras and the surround mixes are worth the purchase.
If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy
The Flaming Lips - Yoshima Battles the Pink Robots CD/DVD-Audio Package
Read all 1 Reviews
Write a Review
Great Music to Play While: Listening