Going along with new digital music artists, I decided to focus this weeks blog on one of my favorite electronic based artists, Animal Collective, and their most recent studio album Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Maryland natives, AC has their roots in Baltimore MD, originally consisting of members Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Deakin, or Deacon as spelled on Strawberry Jam (Josh Dibb) and Geologist (Brian Weitz). Before they officially formed the group in NY and produced their first album in 2000, Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished– Here Comes The Indian, the group got together and collaborated often in Baltimore. The group also owns the record company Paw Tracks, which they have released their own work and other artist’s work on. According to Wikipedia, their style of music is some times classified as either “freak folk” or “noise pop.” It really is difficult to put a label on their sound, especially since their style seems to vary from album to album. However, each album and song has a lot of passion behind it, be it in the lyrics or screaming vocals, or the psychedelic melodies and chants.
Their most recent album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, is (according to Panda Bear) “the bands best-recorded album.” The title of the album pays tribute to the outdoor music venue in Columbia, MD, where a few of the members went to hear music over the summers. The group wanted to make an album worthy of being played at such a great venue, and thus made MWPP. The optical illusion album art is inspired by the Japanese psychologist Akiyoshi Kitaoka. This album consists of only three of the four original members (minus Deacon). Compared to their earlier albums, MWPP is more user friendly I would say. The style is not as free form as earlier works, thus I would be more inclined to recommend this to people who have never listened to them before. According to Wikipedia, the main “instrument” used in the album are samplers. This is one of the reasons why I really enjoy Animal Collective and this album in particular. You cannot really make out any real instruments. Most of the sounds seem to be either distorted samples or completely new sounds created by a mixing board or synthesizer. It is an almost entirely digital medium. It’s really incredible to watch them perform tracks from this album live, using mostly mixing boards and some actual instruments.