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#9 Panda Bear – Person Pitch

September 10th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Looking back at 2007 in music, I still remember the plethora of music and tracks that my friend Derek had sent to me. While there were some definite standouts like Deerhunter and The National, the act that made my head spin was Panda Bear.

Panda Bear was the stage name for Noah Lennox, the drummer/multi-instrumentalist that, up to this point was more known for his work with the band Animal Collective that I had only started getting into.

I still remember the moment that I heard ‘Comfy in Nautica’ off of ‘Person Pitch’. At that first moment, I knew that I was listening to something special. While it sounds eerily familiar to the Beach Boys it felt completely foreign to me.

I remember when I saw Animal Collective at the Metro in Chicago doing a couple promotional shows for Merriweather Post Pavilion, and during the encore Avey Tare went down with a health issue and Panda Bear and Geologist came out onstage and performed a version of this that just vibrated my entire body, truly one of the great live moments of my concert-going experience.

If you listen to the tracks, it might be easy to get washed away in the beauty and missing out on the conflict that is going on in the background.

For Panda Bear, this was a breakthrough album, setting him as well as an important cog in the Animal Collective. Up until this point many would suggest that it was Avey Tare (Dave Portner’s band) or at least the one that played a significant influence in the music on the album. Panda Bear offers elements, especially sampling that feels every bit fulfilled as if he produced all the sounds himself.

But it is not just the Beach Boys but cross-generational, taking elements from Gregorian Chants to Aphex Twin. One moment you feel like you are hearing hymns in a Catholic Basilica, and the next moment it will feel like you should be standing in the midst of twenty thousand people in the extreme heat raging to the electronic beats that are being produced. Yes, sampling had been used for years but nothing, for me, ever felt this complete. ‘Comfy in Nautica’ got me hooked but the knockout punch was ‘Bros’ an epic sprawling 12:30 minute song that doesn’t feel as if it is a second too long.

That is not the only epic song. Good Girl/Carrots carries over more electronic dance elements before transitioning into something more of a Beach Boys pop song. Throughout the album, the messages are simple amidst the sonic pleasuredome. For me, it was an album that I have to admit was something of a godsend due to transitional aspects in my life at the time. Sometimes the simple messages are the best when you are going through stuff that often pushes you down a couple notches.

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