Friday, May 27, 2011
Tomboy's densely layered melodies among top treats of 2011
With all the stale ideas floating around in many music circles today, an innovator, a pioneer is what we need. I jubiliate when I find someone with new ideas, with the potential to push music forward into the future.
I think I've struck gold with Panda Bear.
Noah Lennox, better known as Panda bear, better known as a member of the indie/electronic pop supergroup Animal Collective. Tomboy, Lennox's fourth solo release, highlights his best attributes as a composer and also showcases much of what made AnCo an indie sensation.
You may remember Avey Tare, Animal Collective's other major player, released his solo debut Down There last October. If that disc championed the band's more exotic and experimental side, then Tomboy is a picture perfect demonstration of Lennox's ability to create rich layers and textures upon a musical landscape.
Rich with lush, vibrant, and deeply detailed layering, and featuring Panda Bear's pristine vocal harmonization, Tomboy stands as one of the most exciting works of the year thus far.
There are a couple of remarkable different things he is able to here. Most songs can be classified into general melody based songs. Here, you'll find some real gems, including Surfer's Hymn, Slow Motion, Last Night at the Jetty,and my personal favorite, Alsatian Darn.
Then there are what you categorize as being mood pieces. The sixth track is pervaded by an eerie ominous buzz, with scant vocals that seem to drift along, but you're never quite sure where they came from or where they're leading you.
The vibe and feeling created by the song can be perfectly described as a drone, which is why it's so fitting that that also happens to the the title of the track.
"Scheherazade" is even more haunting, with its minimalist techno and elegiac ,subdued vocal that seems to drift up from the depths of Lennox's tortured soul.
Tomboy is also strong lyrically. Panda's main strength is to take a single statement or concept, simple but profound, and to create a rich texture with it.
"Slow Motion" questions conventional wisdom and declares that it's more important to look within yourself, while "Last Night at the Jetty" takes a simple moment spent with friends and turns it into a powerful testament about how happy memories can have a dynamic impact on the fabric of life.
Tomboy floats by like a hazy, half realized dream, which reveals more and more of its subtle nuances and secrets each time you relive it. It sounds like nothing, acts like nothing, and more importantly feels like nothing that I've heard in quite some time.