Animal Collective.

by Tim Soter

PHOTO: Tim Soter

Animal Collective listening party – Album: ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion.’

Location: The River Room of Harlem

I went to the above listening party last week to hear the new album.  (I had the pleasure of photographing the boys two years ago. The above outtake is from some polaroid filter fun at the end.)  We live in an era where we are inundated with “music” and I use those quotes because often the sounds we are hearing are from bands not formed by musicians, but fans of music. Thanks to cheap or free creative computer programs matched with so many generations of social networks, never before have there been so many contributors, adding to the MySpaceBook laden clutter of the “everyone’s creative and got something to say” era that we live in.  There is a new, subconscious feeling that there is a duty to creatively contribute something to the collective that is our new society, the one in which our online personalities and identities are more important that our face-to-face selves.  Few bands are able to move beyond simply being a contributor, even a good one, and exceed expectations to become unwitting innovators  – solely by working with in their terms and not adhering to the new route.  Animal Collective is one of those few.

“Am I really all the things that are outside of me?” asks Avey Tare (third from left) on the new album.  It affected me in the same way ‘Ghost in the Machine’ by The Police did when I bought the cassette off a kid in the 7th grade.  I honestly could barely get my little kid head around being introduced to an entirely new style – a dark universe of reggae rock.  I couldn’t even imagine the musicians playing it or how it would even have come about.

Here are just some other scribblings that I made on a scrap of paper that night. I hadn’t expected to write at all but couldn’t help myself.

• Scritti Politti Beach Boys church vintage tented carnival

• 70’s AM Gold hits played in Atlantis

• harmonic yodeling energy of a holy aerobic workout video

It’s funny how many times the lyric “I want to…” comes up in their work because they, in fact, are already doing it all.  Inhibition free.