Animal Collective
Centipede Hz


4.5
superb

Review

by robin EMERITUS
September 10th, 2012 | 617 replies | 25,947 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist


I think Animal Collective provide an interesting study into what about music is art. That the collective- specifically the collective- have never felt like a band to me in the same way a Radiohead or a Grizzly Bear have, is mystifying. Instead, Animal Collective feels like an art tribe, widening in its scope and loosening band-leaders, defined both in the sense of what they do beyond themselves- stylistic, illusionary album artwork and hallucinogenic films- and the music itself, constantly about living, breathing things and the dirt beneath their feet, with a focus so strong we think of them as pure unadulterated joy. That, or hipster garbage; your mileage may vary, but even if you think Avey, Panda, Geo and Deakin were made by the internet, and became wish fulfilment for us dorks listening to a copy of their album a month in advance (and so, nothing has changed), there’s nothing internet about their music. Animal Collective is not a band, but an art tribe with a few AKAI synthesizers and a place to upload songs.

That Animal Collective would eventually discover what the internet is- Panda Bear claiming to have discovered Twitter, say no more- was a dangerous idea to play with; it suggested, to my idiot mind, a bunch of woodlanders discovering and wanting to burn the artificial evil. Olde rituals aside, though, Animal Collective have now written a song about songs- “Monkey Riches,” an actualisation of Animal Collective as a ‘band’, of sorts- but its execution is strangely quite perfect: “makes me wonder how I even wrote this song / does this not occur to almost everyone?” Avey Tare sings- more like, postulates- as if reaching above the earthy album he’s writing. But never for a second does it feel like Avey Tare is directing his band somewhere more, beyond what Animal Collective have always been.

And so if that little bit of realisation is a first for Animal Collective, then Centipede HZ seems to say these art tribe desires (“oooooohs,” if you like) are as much about what we tune into as anything else. Inspired by skipping through radio transmissions, the album finds its joy in the bizarreness of what we listen to, and how much it flows and makes sense in its own, illogical way. “Moonjock,” as always, is the perfect Animal Collective opener- it starts at one frequency and ends at another, moving from its muffled radio declaration into a pop song that is very much in the mix: loud and abrasive, “Moonjock” eventually cuts through its swampy percussive bent to become gang vocals and nostalgia: “we ran it again and we ran it again and we ran it out / ran it out.” What follows in “Today’s Supernatural” is the bizarre flow, an Animal Collective transmitting on a different frequency but still, always, led by feeling. Why else would Avey roll his tongue like his own personal instrument?

And my first thought of this album cut through the new, conceptual Animal Collective, which I came to admire; my thought was just don’t ever change, guys; I heard “Rosie Oh” like I’d hear anything on Feels or Merriweather Post Pavillion; I didn’t notice the busy, muffled atmosphere the album was presenting in secret. That is the conversation we’re having about Centipede HZ, of course; that Animal Collective have constructed these songs as a sort of counterpoint to their most successful album, that while “My Girls” or “Brothersport” lived in the wide, damp open, these are songs filled to the brim with what the band can find. People blame, bizarrely, Deakin, for creating an album that sounds claustrophobic, while on his own song he crafts a breezy, spaced-out jam sequenced to give Centipede HZ its breathing space: “Wide Eyed” echoes off the walls and provides big, rollicking riffs as the template for all else. It seems impossible, when this album unravels, to reject Animal Collective for collapsing in on themselves. I could talk about there being less Panda, of course, or no beautiful lull- I don’t need another “Banshee Beat” when I already have “Banshee Beat”- but they’re secondary concerns when this album envelopes like it does. This album is big and bolstered, exhilarating rather than inaccessible, and certainly living for every moment.

Centipede HZ is a reaffirmation. It reminds us that Animal Collective plays interactive, now and forever. They named an album after their favourite music venue, and now after dirt and video games. They were our seasonal band, as far as the endless arguments over whether we listened to them in summer or winter. I myself demanded that Animal Collective created cyclical music, the type that’s always there for you when you want it to be. And then they went and streamed Centipede HZ as a live experience, one that happened for you at 10pm and for me at 4am. We waited through Geologist’s playlist of Spanish music and Pink Floyd to get it, and I remember conversations with fellow Sputnik staffers having us give up on our favourite band before we even heard what they had to offer. By the time Centipede HZ was playing to us, I was delirious for it: “Moonjock” was bolstered beyond just being the fast and loose track it is. “Wide Eyed” was an exclamation and shocking reveal. And I thought “New Town Burnout” was Panda Bear gone hip-hop. With Centipede HZ, things like textures and tight constructions are like musical factors that simply complement the huge fucking experience we all had. I’m not going to remember that I streamed it on the internet where people make jokes about Animal Collective. I’m just going to remember how it felt. For me, it felt perfect, and it reminded me of why I use stupid, stupid words like “art tribe”: because Animal Collective look for the sensory in everything.



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user ratings (517)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • FlattedThird (2.5)
    Centipede Hz sees Animal Collective misstep with the re-addition of Deakin - electronic cl...

    Adam Downer STAFF (3.5)
    Things We Lost in the Clutter...

    derho (4)
    ...

    ronburgandy (3)
    Centipede Hz is a decent album, but its gears are clogged by an overzealous dishing out of...

  • LudditeStereo (4)
    The sonic equivalent to the condition of having both ADD and claustrophobia....

    Alex Beebe (3)
    As always, Animal Collective provides a record bursting at the seams with a vast and color...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
September 10th 2012


10593 Comments


It hurtz alright

robin
Emeritus
September 10th 2012


4248 Comments


then we ran it again then we ran it again and we ran it out ran it out

dedicated to adam downer

PuddlesPuddles
September 10th 2012


4772 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

http://img.izismile.com/img/img5/20120907/1000/friday_gifdump_55_04.gif

ibringyoufire
September 10th 2012


356 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, Robin! This album needs more love.

Digging: Cayetana - Nervous Like Me

StagnantWords
September 10th 2012


318 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very nice review, i dont understand all the hate directed it's way (3.5, really?), this album is very good.

SeaAnemone
September 10th 2012


20284 Comments


well it's certainly an Animal Collective album

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

KILL
September 10th 2012


71743 Comments


lol 4.5???



oh staff

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

johnnydeking29
September 10th 2012


9027 Comments


lol staff
Willie and Crysis rule, as for the rest...see the Mylo Xyloto page

Digging: Envy - A Dead Sinking Story

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2012


10184 Comments


Don't like this album too much, but you sell it pretty well man.

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2012


10405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

this is such great writing i wish it was about another album

Digging: Literature - Chorus

Ire
September 10th 2012


41762 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i 4.5'd this review

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2012


4421 Comments


Really good review, mate. I think this is a 3 at highest but indeed an enjoyable album.

Tyrael
September 10th 2012


20871 Comments


ilu Robin

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2012


15964 Comments


Doesn't usually happen this drastically, but I might swing my rating up quite a bit. I really thought this was bad but it's been clicking for 4 straight days now

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2012


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

fuck yeah robin, you champed this one. I wish I could write about it as elegantly as you do but fuck this album has me at a loss for words. i love it a good deal tho

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2012


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

god i cant even with this review fuckin hell robin

plane
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2012


6094 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Robin can I replace me with you? This review. Seriously. Come hang out with me and let's just listen to music and talk all the time, I don't think we would need anything else.

PuddlesPuddles
September 10th 2012


4772 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Condoms

Lakesss
September 10th 2012


37 Comments


so good

Lakesss
September 10th 2012


37 Comments


album feels like strawberry jam, feels and here comes the indian thrown in a blender



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