Saturday, November 22, 2014

Live Review - Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

Did AOTY2015 leak in 2014??

Or did AOTYAY???

It seems like just yesterday the Mr Noah EP dropped out of heaven itself, and now we have the full album.

Are you ready? I have nothing to say that I didn't say in my preamble to the EP...

Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
Live Review

1. Sequential Circuits
Hmmm... ooooh. Okay. Such a lush sound, so immediate. I love the watery effects. Noah's warbly voice... ahhhhh, and these harmonies. "Just what you need"... this is the Beach Boys sorta effect he can nail so well. I have this like cranked up lol I feel like it's gonna get loud any second and BTFO me. I love the feeling of the vocals anticipating the change in that beautiful warm glowy synth in the background. Come on. I can't really tell what he's saying lol. I'll look up the lyrics later. The lyrics for Mr Noah were fantastic once I understood them. Mm, what a rich sound. "Rich sound" (birdman voice). And these little ribbity noises... and now at 2:50 it feels like it's ended, are we gonna ride out on this ominous rumbly thing that is either entirely in the right channel or my DAC is acting up again lol. I guess so. Sweet. Nice. S+

2. Mr Noah
OKAY HERE WE GO, I listened to this like 500 times. Jam of the year for sure. I love everything... this strange opening, with the yelping... Is that the dog who got "bit on the leg"? Now that I know the lyrics and can sing along I do absolutely every time, loudly and with sincerity. THIS DOG GOT BIT ON THE LE-E-E-G, HE GOT A REALLY BIG CHIP ON THE LE-E-E-G, they really like repeating "le" sounds, like, on Tomorrow's Supernatural, AnCo does. Okay um this release is 192 and the one I usually listen to is FLAC and I can really hear the difference :( obviously :( BUT I CAN'T HELP MYSELF I HAVE TO HEAR THIS ALBUM NOW. it just means i get to be excited all over again when i get to buy it :) :) Man though this song is a jam. How can he top this? Where will he go from here? I am SO EXCITED to find out!! don't want to get out of bed, unless he feels like it's justified. YUP I GET THAT. **

3. Davy Jones' Locker
what like from the monkees? Lol i was just thinking about that earlier. OKAY this thing is just 30 seconds long and it is a bunch of noise okay cool.

4. Crosswords
hey i love crosswords :) okay yeah i'm really feeling this. The little "roboty" voice in the back is so cool, and oh man I swoon whenever he bends way into his falsetto voice. "So cool, so cooooooool" I think. I love that piano tone too. The intersection between these crazy electric-swamp sounds and rich, resonant acoustic instruments is SUPER INTERESTING. The beat is so funky too, I am "seriously grooving", taking it VERY SERIOUSLY. Day to day, day after day, so [something], hmmm, lots of Panda Bear stuff is about like, a good day to day lifestyle. How to live a life that's every day. Or whatever. I dunno. There's time to think about that later. *

5. Butcher Baker Candlestick Maker
These guys are the ones that were in the tub, right? What's that mean?? Hmm... Is there some meaning to those three professions? I have no idea what that "rhyme" means. Is he saying "you should drink that other drug"? What a mysterious song... Another loopy sorta jam. I feel it. "Rip this, wrap that"? These are like... the roles of the three? Oooh, at like 2:10, there was this sort of peaceful feeling I got when the synth comes in a bit more. He has all these amazing sonic elements and just by bringing one out a little more or less it can make my head spin. Cool cool. S

6. Boys Latin
Woooah. this sounds like a ROBOT ATTACK from a FUTURE that will NEVER COME TO PASS. I love the starkness of that one hit, though, a chalky empty sound, like slate. These pingponging vocals are cool and cute. C&C. no idea what he's saying though lmao. The single sung syllables are by nature truncated but don't feel sharp or cut off, but still have an effect of immediacy. How do you adjust your attack/sustain/whatever for that effect? FL studio has no answers :(. "Dark cloud, you shifted again, and a shadow moves in", that's a nice little image. This song structure feels weirdly hymnal. Like the way you can sing psalms as a round. And the vocal ranges make me think of that too but I'm not sure why. I mean rounds were the original "jam", to be fair. Cool. S

7. Come to Your Senses
ooh, 7:23... a big one. Not big big like Bros etc though. "Are you mad(?)" Wait this sounds almost like a response to Bros lol. "Yeah, I'm mad". hmm. that's sorta surprising. He doesn't sound too mad. I can't really picture him being mad. There's like, a roboty voice effect that keeps popping up in this album that I really really like. Okay so... this is good. I'm vibing out or whatever. But I think historically what I've always liked best about Panda Bear is the feeling of breakthrough or transition in his work. Like, the feeling of a drastic and often profound change occurring in the music... But this is sorta... Idk. he settles into a pattern or structure and largely sticks to it through the whole sound. There's overall a sort of loopy quality, where the only "progressing" element is the vocals, but even those often repeat themselves. I kinda miss the feeling of something "bursting out" or something "going wild" or something "catching fire". Everything here seems "under control". Hmmm. This outro is pretty interesting. It sounds like some sorta animal but there is no such animal. And then oooh this is pretty neat. Am I "coming to my senses"? Or are my "senses coming"? hahaha. because it sounds so cool. is the joke. S+

8. Tropic of Cancer
lol the beginning sounds like either 2001 or The Last Post, the trumpet thing they play on Remembrance Day. okay this is neat. OOOOOH. enchanted meadow sorta music. yes yes. I can see the Tropic of Cancer here. And these drifting vocals like waves on bright and warm sand.... ahh... :) "It's all in the family, and then you sneak it [something something]" hmmmmmmm. "When he said it's [something], I laughed it off as if it's no big deal". This is surprisingly minimal when I think of it. Oooh, at 2:30, it bends minor in a really menacing way. But despite what he says it keeps coming back to the original tone. This whole thing feels more rich than it "ought" to be given how simple the instrumentation and stuff is. The harmonies etc at 3:50 are pretty sweet too. Ahh, what a relaxing song. The outro is really nice... S+

9. Shadow of the Colossus
Like the game??? Okay short one.

10. Lonely Wanderer
woahhhhhhhh i love that intro. I love that sorta effect. Okay yeah VIDEO GAME REFERENCE CONFIRMED 90% sure cause the guy's name in SotC is Wander. PANDA BEAR CONFIRMED GAMER!! just like ME!! i wonder if he likes SKYRIM and CALL OF DUTY !>!?!?!?!?>mk Klxjhe okay but seriously this is pretty great. The piano sounds so nice as it falls like gentle rain... and the low rumbly synth like thunder... and noah and me walking in the rain and i say "watashi wa noah-senpai... daisuki" and he corrects my grammar and my pronunciation. "Was it, was it, was it worthwhile?" idk man do you mean listening to your albums and going to your concerts and stuff? yes?? extremely? That big static wash at the end is pretty stunning... S+

11. Principe Real
woaahahahaha there is some stuff going on here that is giving my cans a good workout. These bouncy organ sounds, his rhythmic voice, and that little austinato (omg i have actually no idea how to spell that lol). man what you gonna do when the beat come on??? I like the feeling of the tracks getting more and more "into" the rhythms, so things feel more solidly on their "beat" as the repetitions increase. I wonder if this is a tiny taste of what being brainwashed feels like. Mann like at 3:00, the effect that comes in, it's so dreamy... it wouldn't feel out of place on a Burial track, maybe. I love his harmonizing voice. It feels both resonant and not... So cool... I like the "noodling" effect on the outro. *

12. Selfish Gene
dawkins??? but altruism wins out in the end!!! "Only you can fill those spaces", Panda Bear's lyrics about relationships (or basically anything) are always sincere and heartwarming. Ohh that little crushed sound at 1:20, I love that. I have no idea what he's saying, something about touching someone with a wig on? Again there's a sort of "hidden minimalism", where the given elements are so sonically rich and diverse that you don't realize how few of them there are. It's an almost hypnotic quality... like when you listen to a really good solo performer, on just a guitar or whatever, and you start to feel like there must be a whole orchestra there or something. But an orchestra just playing guitar, or something. idk. difficult to describe. I get it with Sun Kil Moon too. So you get feelings of both "so much is happening, it's so rich, I could drown in this song" and nice minimal feelings of "I can hear everything, his voice is so exposed, I can catch every little detail and variation". Wonderful paradoxical feelings. S

13. Acid Wash
like JEANS? omg the song connections continue?? or like... lsd, lol. Okay this is PRETTY COOL, his back on his hymnal/Beach Boys straightforward harmony thing. A ship on a sea coast... the last song on the EP had nautical imagery too... but much weirder ones lol. This is a banger of a jam... Oh man and these sounds at 1:30, it's like flying. Flying through a static sea. Or something idk. im using some strange metaphors on this one... This beat feels like... a brisk walk. On a day where everything feels new and possible. Oooh we're going all out on this outro... flying into space... delta episode.... *

Okay that was pretty sweet

Yet again it feels like Noah's gone forward a few years in time, extensively listened to a genre that doesn't yet exist, made the best album in that genre, and brought it back to the present. This one is called "Postjamwave". Cause y'know, for all my talk about "jams", there weren't really that many. For me, a jam is like... the song gets into a certain sort of pattern, a certain combination of aesthetic and rhythm, and there's a sense that the repetition of that pattern is for the sheer indulgence of the listener - the band knows the listeners are really feeling it, so they're just gonna give it to them. And the listeners feel like the song could go on forever like that, they're really jamming.

"Mr Noah" is definitely a jam for me. I can (and have) listen to that song on loop for hours and hours. But most of the other songs on the album aren't really jams for me. They don't have that catchiness, that energy... They have the structure of jams, yeah. Like, the feeling of repetitiveness, the feeling of indulgence, the feeling of "this could go on forever...". But they're lacking something else... Like, first off, most of them aren't in the "emotional mode" of jams, which is usually... something pretty party-like.

And then like... the overall song-structure actually isn't so jam-y. Mainly cause I feel like the key jams for me have always been the ones that come somewhat into the song. Like, "Alsatian Darn", off Tomboy, which is prolly one of my favorite songs ever. Although some elements are consistent through the whole song, there's still a pretty dramatic change around 2:40, when you break through into that glorious, glorious "Can I make a bad mistake?" jam. Or like, "Bros" or "Good Girl/Carrots", the classic PBear masterpieces... they're fairly consistent through their entire 10+ minutes, but there's definitely a feeling of transition... the repetitive elements become more repetitiveness and other elements fall away, and there's a great feeling of satisfaction when your favorite elements are brought for a long spot in the spotlight.

Prolly the best example comes from "Brother Sport". When it leaked there would be like 15 threads on /mu/ at any given time with the link and "JAM OF A LIFETIME". I think that's where I started using this term and began associating it with AnCo and stuff. I think the term "jam" comes from people just "jamming away" on their instruments but I've always sorta secretly pictured it as a really sweet really tasty jam hidden away in some baked goods... It's like... the flavors that were sort of there, but mixed in with other stuff, throughout the donut or whatever, now they're in full homogeneous force, exploding into your mouth. And when you eat it you feel like you want the jam to go on forever, that it was the best part, that it should have been all jam. But you can't actually sit down and eat a jar of jam. Trust me on this.

Okay that sounds pretty negative... I mean, yeah... I felt like I could often anticipate the song "doing more", that I wanted some elements to burst out, for major transitions, whatever... but that was only because the song I was given was so stimulating, so cool, so intriguing, so unlike what I had ever heard before... each aesthetic was so remote from everything else I knew that it felt like all the area around it was also unexplored, and I wanted it to have a proper run around.

But in the place of this sort of jam-y energy, Noah's given us a staggering emotional range. There's a strange feeling of both maximal and minimal energy here, where you feel at once both stunned by the innovation of the sound but also intimately close to it. The repetitiveness is hypnotic, drawing you into these unfamiliar sounds and making you feel warm and welcome. They feel strangely familiar... they evoke real landscapes and places and images, but it remains quite clearly unlike anything you've ever heard. So cool! I can't wait until I actually understand the lyrics lol. And hopefully a higher bitrate will surface. 


Anonymous said...

lol how the fuck can you review an akbum basically minutes after it's out. fucking stop rying so hard

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah, I eat penises all day and poop them out and then I eat that poop (I am the guy who made that last comment but I was quite cranky because I did not yet eat my penis poop fix mmm so tasty)