Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Animal Collective

If you are one of the many who cream their pants thinking about Avey Tare and Geologist, you are already fully aware of the fact that the group has released a new album called Strawberry Jam. Seeing as my world stops for no artist (it would for a reunion of the following bands: The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, The Gun Club, 3rd Bass, Heavenly, Josef K, Joy Division, Lush, Neu!, and Metal Urbain. If you are paying attention, you will understand why my world stops for no artist), I have been trying to understand why people get so excited about this band.

When I listen to them, it strikes me as a pretentious, self-indulgent endeavor, full of misplaced screams and an ineffective use of noise and tape loops. Their take on psychedelic music is also greatly hampered by the aimlessness of a lot of their music. Unlike good experimental music on the likes of Stars of the Lid and Windy and Carl (yes, they are both Kranky artists. But, I can also reference 12K records here too), which starts at one place and makes it to another, the music of the Brooklyn via Baltimore quartet strikes out with little confidence and finds itself lost in a sea of formless experimentation. Anyone who listens to experimental music knows that this is the worst thing that can happen: an experimental band that goes nowhere.

Seeing as this reaction to their music stands in diametric opposition to public opinion, I'm wondering who is really right here. Is anyone actually right? Are we all wrong? Are we all being taken for chumps by four guys from suburban Baltimore? These are all questions that I'm unable to answer because I just don't know. All I know is that their aimlessness makes me grind my teeth, much in a manner similar to that when I listen to Gang Gang Dance.

To demonstrate a non-aimless piece of experimental music, I will point to Black Dice. While their sound is fairly pretentious, it actually has a rhythm to it. They build it up, tear it down, replace backbeats, and do other sorts of crazy shit. But, the primary thing is that it gets somewhere and it works. Animal Collective doesn't do this in my opinion. There will be someone who has no idea of what I'm talking about. If you are this person, don't worry. You are totally normal and probably more sane than me. This video is a song that Black Dice did on what appears to be Spanish Television:

I'm done with this topic. If you have further insights in either direction, put it in the comments.