Thursday, January 17, 2008
Noah Lennox and David Portner are the key members of what might be the two most eccentric musical groups of the 21st century; Animal Collective and Panda Bear. Lennox and Portner met through their childhood friends Josh Dibb and Brian Weitz to form Animal Collective in New York City sometime during 2000. Together they've released a catalog of some of the most spastic and experimental albums ever recorded.
At first listen, Lennox and Portner's brand of experimental, freak-folk is so strange that it's almost too difficult to categorize. Rock? Alternative? Indie? I guess it's more appropriate to stick to their self-defined genres of experimental and freak-folk... Lush reverb, funky filters, and the occasional electronic sample make up the background for some of the strangest vocal habits and lyrics to have surfaced in the past decade.
However, what's truly impressive and appealing about this duo is their incredible creative ability. Strawberry Jam, Animal Collective's most recent release, is truly unlike anything I've ever heard. The album's opener, Peacebone, seems that it could be only truly understood if the listener was tripping out on some recreational drug. Panda Bear's newest release, Person Pitch, is just as eccentric. As a friend of mine described, "it's the equivalent of what the Beach Boys would have sounded like if they recorded an album while they were stoned". The album's opener, Comfy in Nautica illustrates this perfectly. Choral- like backing vocals, harmonious lead vocals and so much reverb that you'd think Lennox recorded this track in a cathedral. One of the album's 12 minute pieces explores three major ideas and is sure to give anyone chill bumps at some time or another.
Though Lennox and Portner may be creating some of the weirdest music of today that may scare off the occasional music listener, their creative abilities should be appreciated. It takes an amazing amount of effort and ability to create something as complex and different as they have.