Animal Collective – Electronics, Vocals, and Beyond

Coming up with a simple explanation of Animal Collective is hard.  Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

“The band’s music is characterized by studio experimentation, vocal harmonies, and an exploration of various genres which include freak folk, noise rock, ambient drone, and psychedelia.”

Ok, so you are prepared for something unusual. In the photo above, which I took recently, you can see what they looked like live.  Three shadowy figures behind mysterious instruments and electronics, a drummer, and a stage looking like something from a primitive cave drawing come to life.  Everything was in constant motion on stage with animation over everything.


No guitars.  One thing to recognize is after decades of the use of synthesizers, sequencers and other electronic instruments people have come to realize that there is music you can make electronically that you just can’t make any other way.  These instruments are not cheap substitutes for “real instruments.”  They are the new way to make music.  Bands of all kinds have incorporated electronics into their setups. Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is taking over the hip hop and house music world.  If you are going to come to appreciate new music, you need to get passed any prejudice you may have against electronics.

Animal collective make full use – with three musicians operating massive amounts of equipment.  What they’ve created is truly an amazing mix of sound built from their voices mixed with a spectacular range of musical sounds produced from a large number of CPUs operating on stage.

Their music is complex, and maybe the smell of 420 in the room helped people experience the full effect.  Don’t try to figure it out.  Let the music take you.

In this playlist:

My Girls – Probably their most popular song, this is a good place to start.  It’s light, it’s dark, it’s complicated.

Summertime Clothes – Another popular one, but note that the YouTube live version is a particularly awesome performance of this song – check it.

FloriDada – Another one where the video is definitely worth checking out.  It goes full-on psychedelic.  Enjoy.

YouTube playlist : Animal Collective

Spotify playlist: Animal Collective


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