Feels

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Feels
Studio album by Animal Collective
Released October 18, 2005
Recorded March 2005
Genre Experimental rock, neo-psychedelia, freak folk, ambient
Length 51:48
Label FatCat
Producer Animal Collective
Animal Collective chronology
Sung Tongs
(2004)
Feels
(2005)
Strawberry Jam
(2007)

Feels is the sixth studio album by Baltimore-based band Animal Collective, released in October 2005 by FatCat Records. Initial copies contained a bonus disc of live material. It also appeared at #55 on Pitchfork Media's top 200 albums of the 2000s (decade).

Recording[edit]

Feels is known for its unconventional guitar sounds, which were obtained in part by the unique tuning the band used. Geologist explained how they created and used this tuning on the Collected Animals message board:[1]

"All the songs on Feels are tuned to our friends piano which was out of tune to begin with. Dave and I made loops from recordings of him playing her piano, and we used those loops in the early songwriting process for feels. So since those loops are premade and can't be tuned, the guitars have to be tuned to the loops. it's not out of tune in any traditional whole step/half step kind of way...we're talking microtonally out of tune after years of not being professionally tuned and subtle natural detuning. Kind of like if you played guitar in standard tuning for years but never once re-tuned it to make sure it was right. It would have its own unique out-of-tune tuning based on what strings you played most often, how hard you played it, the temperature in the room, the humidity, etc... When we went into the studio it ruled over everything we did. Even doctess's live piano playing required us bringing in a professional piano tuner, playing him a minidisc recording of our friend's out of tune piano, and having him try to de-tune the studio's piano in exactly the same way our friend's was. Without those recordings or the loops dave and i made, you wouldn't be able to get it exact unless you tune to the album while it's playing, and even then, you'd have to know which loop in the album we use to tune, which one chord it is, and because of the way we mixed the loop in, it is almost impossible to separate from dave's guitar. I'll never forget when the tuner finished (we had to wait to start recording until he finished) and he stood up from the bench and went 'there you go, the piano's perfectly out of tune.'"

Feels is the first album to feature significant contributions from musicians outside its core members. Geologist described the contributions of Doctess and the recording process on the Collected Animals message board:[2]

"kristin plays on every song. she played live as we did the live tracking but there was often a lot of bleed into the piano mics from the other instruments so she often re-did or elaborated on her parts at night when she could have quiet in the studio. we all played in one room so there was so [sic] isolation, except josh's guitar amps which we stuck in a bathroom."

Geologist also described working with Eyvind Kang on the Collected Animals message board:[2]

"he was only there for an afternoon. we had sent him live recordings of the songs we wanted him on (daffy, bees, fickle cycle, and people) but he never had a chance to listen to them. so he came in and would listen to each track once, then talk with us about ideas, and then just improvise over the song. as scott [Colburn] predicted (he has worked with eyvind many times over the last 10 years), he never hit a wrong note. it was pretty mindblowing to watch. he played violin, viola, and tried some traditional chinese instrument, which we took out because it didn't mix so well. wish we had more time to jam because i'm sure it [would] have a lot of fun. dave [aka Avey Tare] and i had been thinking about who to ask to play violin on a few songs that we wanted violin on, and eyvind was our first choice. we'd been big fans of his since first hearing him play violin on a sun city girls record in the mid-90's. it was kind of just great luck that he was our first choice and that scott knew him and had recorded him a bunch, and that he lived in the seattle area. when i first asked him if he'd be interested his crucial question was what we wanted out of a violin part in a song. did we want it to stand out melodically so a listener would say, oh here comes the violin part, or did we want him to explore the violin and how it would fit into the song (i.e. doing noise, more textural parts)? i replied the latter and he was stoked. that was the ultimate reason we chose him. he's so good at exploring and pushing the limits of his instruments. he can master the pretty and melodic stuff, harsh noise music, trancey drones, etc."

Engineer Scott Colburn also provided a few details about recording Feels on the Collected Animals message board (under the username "Scooter") "Feels started on tape and ended up in Nuendo...The vocals had effects on them, but they were no different than the effects used live. BUTT [sic], each vocal track was recorded with 6 microphones, thereby creating a whole new effect."[3]

Artwork[edit]

The cover art is reminiscent of the work of artist Henry Darger. Its creator, the group's singer Dave Portner, has been a huge fan of Darger but didn't have Darger in mind while creating the cover art. He found a children's educational guide on the street and thought "the images fit the sound and the lyrics perfectly." [4]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (84/100)[5]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link
The Guardian 4/5 stars link
Mojo 4/5 stars Nov 2005, p.108
PopMatters (8/10) 2005
Pitchfork Media (9.0/10.0) link
Q 4/5 stars Nov 2005, p.131
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention) link
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars link
Stylus Magazine (A-) 2005
Tiny Mix Tapes 4.5/5 stars [1]
Uncut 4/5 stars Nov 2005, p.110

The album received positive reviews from critics. It holds an 84/100 average on Metacritic, indicating universal acclaim.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Did You See the Words"   5:15
2. "Grass"   2:59
3. "Flesh Canoe"   3:44
4. "The Purple Bottle"   6:48
5. "Bees"   5:38
6. "Banshee Beat"   8:22
7. "Daffy Duck"   7:34
8. "Loch Raven"   4:59
9. "Turn into Something"   6:29

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ post by Brian Weitz under the username "veyesor" (2006), Animal Collective Discussion: Deciphering the Animal Collective Tuning, Collected Animals, archived from the original on August 14, 2007, retrieved July 22, 2013 
  2. ^ a b post by Brian Weitz under the username "veyesor" (2006), Questions for the Collective: Is Wikipedia Accurate?, Collected Animals, archived from the original on August 14, 2007, retrieved July 22, 2013 
  3. ^ Scott Colburn under the username "scooter" (2005), Questions for the Collective: Feels Production, Collected Animals, archived from the original on July 20, 2011, retrieved July 22, 2013, Feels started on tape and ended up in Nuendo. effects? well what _is_ an effect. The vocals had effects on them, but they were no different than the effects used live. BUTT, each vocal track was recorded with 6 microphones, thereby creating a whole new effect. 
  4. ^ post by Dave Portner under the name "wheeter" (2005), Questions for the Collective: Feels Artwork- Henry Darger Influence?, Collected Animals, archived from the original on July 20, 2011, retrieved July 22, 2013, Ive been a fan of dargers stuff for some time now but didnt really have it in mind when i made the cover. I found a childrens educational guide on the street and thought some of the images fit the sound and the lyrics perfectly (kind of how i felt about the original spirit album cover when i ripped that off too) so i cut them up and used them. I guess the similarity is there because darger taught himself to draw by tracing similar images and magazine cut outs etc. 
  5. ^ Metacritic