by Joseph Climer
Zaireeka – a play on words developed by mastermind Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. Allow me to recap. Zaire, in reference to the Democratic Republic of Central Africa, is a nation that underwent severe political instability, that later led to anarchy. The term “Zaire” was originally adopted from the Portuguese, holding the original meaning of “river that swallows all rivers.” Next, we have Eureka, a well-known interjection that is a derivative of the Ancient Greek language meaning “I have found it.” It is not surprising that Wayne has formed a trifecta of cleverly stated points that wholesomely represent the album, Zaireeka. After all, who else has topped the world record of shows in 24 hours by tour bus, from Memphis, Tenn., down through Oxford and southern parts of Mississippi, and down into Louisiana (let it go Jay-Z), produced a vinyl filled with the blood of band members and other musicians, or “The Parking Lot Experiments” which led to the initial stages of creating Zaireeka.
If you’re unfamiliar with the album, Zaireeka is the eighth studio album by The Flaming Lips, released in 1997. It consists of four individual discs, which are intended to all be played at the same time and all synchronize with one another. The music was written in accordance to always being in key, whether you’re spinning four, three, or just two of the discs. Zaireeka even comes with its own disclaimer.*
*WARNING: This recording also contains frequencies not normally heard on commercial recordings and on rare occasions has caused the listener to become disoriented. These extremely high and low frequencies can cause a person to become disoriented, confused, or nauseated. DO NOT listen repeatedly at high volume. Make sure infants are out of listening range.
On July 20th, The End of All Music hosted a spin-off of these recordings with free Flaming Lips posters and Busch beer. After a few failed attempts of getting all four needles dropped dead on time, the guys at EOAM decided to let the records spin on anyways. Somehow, everything still matched up as Wayne’s frightening guitar built up to sound like the deep breaths of a serial killer with smoker’s cough. With the turntables on different sides of the room, as you walked around the record store, you could pick up on different sound waves blaring from each speaker. It almost felt like the heavy flow of each recording kept everyone moving about the store. I stood in the center record rack, trying my hardest to read the back of Andy Kaufman’s standup on vinyl, when the crying synthesizer crept through the PA system and up my spin. Soft knots pulsated to shivering bass lines that worked their way up to my skull, working the left and right side of my brain in synchronicity. The sounds of a crashing airplane undergoing unforeseen turbulence, where none of the passengers feared the slightest thought of death, then leveled out into the end of the album. It was at that point that I fully understood the warning label. No children were harmed in the spinning of this record.
Stop by The End of All Music and check out their extensive Flaming Lips collection, from their 1995 release, Clouds Taste Metallic to their 2013 release, The Terror.