Centipede Hz

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Centipede Hz
Studio album by Animal Collective
Released September 4, 2012
Recorded January - February 2012 at Sonic Ranch
Genre Neo-psychedelia, experimental rock
Length 53:33
Label Domino
Producer Animal Collective, Ben H. Allen III
Animal Collective chronology
Merriweather Post Pavilion
(2009)
Centipede Hz
(2012)
Singles from Centipede Hz
  1. "Today's Supernatural"
    Released: July 29, 2012
  2. "Applesauce"
    Released: November 12, 2012

Centipede Hz (pronounced "centipede hertz") is the ninth studio album by American experimental group Animal Collective, released on September 4, 2012 on Domino Records. The album marks the return of band member Deakin, who sat out of the recording and touring of the band's previous album, Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009).[1]

Recording[edit]

Background[edit]

In November 2010, Deakin rejoined Animal Collective, after sitting out on the recording and touring of the band's eighth studio album, Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009). With the band's fanbase significantly expanded, the four members of Animal Collective moved back to their hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, in early 2011, to begin writing their ninth studio album. Avey Tare noted, "I moved into a house that was blocks away from our high school - it was definitely a little bit weird to feel this mixture of old and new. [...] Just driving the same roads, going to Josh's mom's place. It's pretty much where we all started playing together for days and nights when we were in high school." Deakin elaborated, "Just having the experience of seeing each other every day was what marked this record."[2] Avey Tare elaborates "Yeah, we’d get up every day and just go play for about six or seven hours, then go home. Then the next day we’d do it again. It was like a workshop. The first week or so was just free-form jamming, trying to see what kind of sounds we could conjure up. Then it was clear that we needed more actual songs, so we started to break up the work a little bit — Noah and I might go off and work on some melodies while Josh and Brian might work on some drum sounds. Then we’d come back together and try to combine what we’d been doing. We recorded everything. We all had handheld recorders with us. Then we’d go through the stuff and pick out things that seemed promising, like we might pick out one interesting rhythm and then try to build a melody around it. We might take a section of one jam and try to build a song around it. Everything was labeled — all the recordings — and I think there were 13 or 14 hours of just stuff like that from the first week or so. Much of it wasn’t worth keeping, but out of that material, the new stuff was kind of born."[28]

Production[edit]

The album was recorded at Sonic Ranch in January and February 2012 and was mixed at Maze Studios in Atlanta.[3] Ben Allen, who co-produced the group's previous album Merriweather Post Pavilion, returned as the co-producer.[1]

In an interview with Pitchfork Media, Avey Tare called Centipede Hz "more grounded in one location" and less ambient than the group's previous album.[1] The group also wanted the album to have a "live-band feel" to it. In turn, live instruments were used such as a sit-down drum kit and live keyboards. Centipede Hz also featured the first Animal Collective song where Deakin sang lead vocals, on "Wide Eyed."[3]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Where Merriweather Post Pavilion had more of a pop sound, Centipede Hz was a return to Animal Collective's experimental roots.[4] Writers have cited a wide variety of influences on Centipede Hz, including psychedelic rock, garage rock, Chicha music and avant-garde music. For specific bands, writers have cited, among others, Pink Floyd, Portishead, We the People, Milton Nascimento and Zé Ramalho as influences.[5]

Centipede Hz displays a large amount of abrasive vocal styles, mostly from Avey Tare. As Merriweather Post Pavilion showed more of an ambient side to Animal Collective, Centipede Hz features more samples and live instrumentation.

Radio commercials and station identification announcements were additional influences on the album's sound. This influence is reflected in the album's use of radio interference and white noise.[3] Animal Collective got the idea for using radio interference while re-writing the songs on Centipede Hz for a live performance at the 2011 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The group wanted a continuous sound when playing the Centipede Hz songs live, thus they used radio interference to do so.[6] Avey Tare noted, "My brother was a DJ when I was growing up, and there was a radio station called B104 in Baltimore. He had recently got a CD of all the radio identifications that come between [songs], and we were going back through everything, listening to how weird and spacey and experimental it sounded. When you add that element to radio, it's this weird form of musique concrète. We thought it would be cool and also a little funny to have something like [sings like a radio segue] "more continuous music" in our live set, just because that's our style of playing."[2]

Release[edit]

Centipede Hz was announced on May 13, 2012, with an official video on their website which contained titles of the songs on the album.[7] The majority of the tracklist was debuted live during their 2011 tour. The album was also announced to be released in three formats: a standard CD, a standard 2xLP, and a deluxe 2xLP version. All three formats are available to pre-order and include a bonus DVD containing the music files and a video of the band's 2011 Prospect Park show in Brooklyn.[8]

On July 29, as part of the lead-up to the album, Animal Collective began broadcasting weekly "Centipede Radio" shows from a section of their website.[9] During the first show, the first single from the album, "Today's Supernatural" was premiered. The single was also uploaded to Domino Records' YouTube channel on the same day.[10] A music video for "Today's Supernatural" was released on August 16, 2012.[11] On August 19, 2012, the album was streamed in its entirety on Animal Collective's official website, with each song accompanied by a custom video directed by Abby Portner.[12][13]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (75/100)
Review scores
Source Rating
The A.V. Club C+[14]
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[15]
BBC Music positive[16]
Beats Per Minute 91%[17]
Consequence of Sound 4/5 stars[18]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[19]
NME 8/10[20]
Pitchfork (7.4/10)[21]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[22]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars [23]

Centipede Hz has received mostly positive reviews, although initial critical reaction to the album was more mixed compared to the group's widely acclaimed previous album Merriweather Post Pavilion.[24] On Metacritic, the album has a score of 75 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[25]

Barry Nicolson of NME called the album "a flawed and imperfect jumble of garish colours and disconnected sensations," but nevertheless gave the album a positive review, concluding: "It’s chaotic and confounding. It will frustrate as much as it delights. And no, not everything they throw at the wall manages to stick. But my, what a lovely mess they’ve made."[20] BBC Music's Mike Diver gave the album a positive review, writing "submit fully to Centipede Hz and it will infect you, quite deliciously, for the foreseeable."[16] Rolling Stone's Jon Dolan gave the album a score 3 and a half stars out of five, writing "What gives Centipede Hz its relatable gravity is that, this time out, Animal Collective sound more like creatures who put their skinny jeans on one hoof at a time [..] For a band that usually seems to be eternally shambling toward transcendence, a shot of ambivalence is a brave new kind of pick-me-up."[22]

Much of the criticism of the album was directed at the album's dense sound. Pitchfork Media's Stuart Berman, while giving the album a positive review, criticized the songs for being too cluttered compared to those on previous albums, writing: "Centipede Hz, by comparison, feels like someone throwing a burrito on your windshield: The songs hit with a jolt, instantly splaying all their ingredients before you."[21] Commenting on the return of Deakin, Tom Ewing of The Guardian wrote: "It explains some of the record's bluntness – every track is full of incident, and most incidents are mixed to a similar level, so at first the songs hit you as unresolved slabs of babble." Ewing continued: "This makes Centipede Hz a tough listening experience to begin with, but not a particularly weird one. Once you adjust to the new method and peer through the layers of detail and clustered production, these are often quite conventional – if meandering – indie-rock songs."[19] The A.V. Club's Marc Hirsh, while praising the songs "Pulleys" and "Wide Eyed," wrote "[..] [O]ther songs are so densely packed with sonic information that they become nearly impenetrable [..]" Hirsh concluded: "Animal Collective runs riot on the head front so thoroughly that it overlooks its own eagerness to please. Instead, Centipede Hz insists that listeners think their way to liking it."[14]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Moonjock" - 5:04
  2. "Today's Supernatural" - 4:18
  3. "Rosie Oh" - 2:57
  4. "Applesauce" - 5:34
  5. "Wide Eyed" - 5:00
  6. "Father Time" - 4:35
  7. "New Town Burnout" - 6:01
  8. "Monkey Riches" - 6:46
  9. "Mercury Man" - 4:18 (contains sample of the song "Invasion" by King Tubby)
  10. "Pulleys" - 3:31
  11. "Amanita" - 5:39

Personnel[edit]

Animal Collective[edit]

  • Avey Tare - vocals, synthesizers, piano, guitar, sampler, sequencer, percussion
  • Panda Bear – vocals, drums, sampler, percussion
  • Deakin - vocals, baritone guitar, sampler, percussion
  • Geologist - sampler, synthesizers, piano, percussion

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Dave Scher - lap steel guitar (2, 7 and 10), melodica (3)
  • Riverside Middle School Choir - vocals (6 and 7)

Recording personnel[edit]

  • Animal Collective - producer
  • Ben H. Allen III - producer, recording, engineering, mixing
  • Manuel Calderon - recording assistant
  • Rob Skipworth - recording assistant
  • Brad Truax - recording assistant
  • Joe D'Agostino - recording assistant
  • Sumner Jones - recording assistant
  • Alex Tumay - recording assistant
  • Joe Lambert - mastering

Artwork[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[26] 16
US Rock Albums[26] 6
US Independent Albums[26] 4
US Alternative Albums[26] 5
UK Official Charts Company[27] 55

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Fitzmaurice, Larry. Update: Animal Collective. Pitchfork Media. May 17, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Richardson, Mark. "Interviews: Animal Collective". pitchfork.com. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Domino|Artists|Animal Collective. Domino Records. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  4. ^ Lynch, Joe. Fuse Q&A: Animal Collective Talk 'Centipede Hz' & Possibility of Breaking Up. Fuse. August 30, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  5. ^ Larson, Jeremy and Kivel, Adam. 17 songs that influenced Animal Collective’s Centipede Hz. Consequence of Sound. August 21, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  6. ^ Wood, Nathan. Animal Collective Q&A. VMusic.com.au. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  7. ^ ANIMAL COLLECTIVE ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM 'CENTIPEDE HZ'. Domino Records. May 14, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  8. ^ CENTIPEDE HZ. Domino Records. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  9. ^ Animal Collective Radio. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  10. ^ Animal Collective - Today's Supernatural on YouTube. July 29, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  11. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry. Watch the Video for Animal Collective's "Today's Supernatural". Pitchfork Media. August 16, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  12. ^ Minsker, Evan. Listen to Animal Collective's Centipede Hz In Full. Pitchfork Media. August 19, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  13. ^ Hogan, Marc. Why Animal Collective Broadcast 'Centipede Hz' Early. Spin. August 20, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  14. ^ a b , Marc Hirsh. Animal Collective: Centipede Hz. The A.V. Club. September 4, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  15. ^ Thomas, Fred. Centipede HZ - Animal Collective. Allmusic. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  16. ^ a b Diver, Mike. Animal Collective Centipede Hz Review. BBC Music. August 29, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  17. ^ Stringer, FM. Album Review: Animal Collective - Centipede Hz. Beats Per Minute. September 4, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  18. ^ Kivel, Adam. Album Review: Animal Collective – Centipede Hz. Consequence of Sound. August 31, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  19. ^ a b Ewing, Tom. Animal Collective: Centipede HZ – review. The Guardian. August 23, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  20. ^ a b Nicolson, Barry. Animal Collective - 'Centipede HZ'. NME. August 24, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  21. ^ a b Berman, Stuart (September 4, 2012). "Animal Collective: Centipede Hz | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  22. ^ a b Dolan, Jon. Centipede Hz. Rolling Stone. August 23, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  23. ^ "Slant review". 
  24. ^ Animal Collective Profile. Metacritic. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  25. ^ Critic Reviews for Centipede Hz. Metacritic. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  26. ^ a b c d "Centipede Hz - Animal Collective". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  27. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/_/animal%20collective/