|Studio album by|
|Released||September 4, 2012|
|Studio||Sonic Ranch, Tornillo, Texas|
|Producer||Animal Collective, Ben H. Allen III|
|Animal Collective chronology|
|Singles from Centipede Hz|
Centipede Hz is the ninth studio album by American experimental pop 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). On the US Billboard 200, it peaked at No. 16.
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." 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."
Almost four years after the album's release, Weitz intimated: "Coming back for Centipede Hz was difficult. It was a super emotional time. Because of the way we set the making of that album up, taking us all to Baltimore, the unsettled nature came out on the record. It was just a very different process from the more easy going one that Merriweather had been. ... we wrote it for the stage and, before recording ... some of us got set ideas about what songs should sound like and where certain parts should fit in. Then, when we went to ooze all four of those different perspectives together—there weren’t battles, but it did lead to a lot of things staying in the mix."
The album was recorded at Sonic Ranch in January and February 2012 and was mixed at Maze Studios in Atlanta. Ben Allen, who co-produced the group's previous album Merriweather Post Pavilion, returned as the co-producer.
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. 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."
Musical style and influences
Where Merriweather Post Pavilion had more of a pop sound, Centipede Hz was a return to Animal Collective's experimental roots. 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.
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. 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. 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."
Centipede Hz was announced on May 13, 2012, with an official video on their website which contained titles of the songs on the album. The majority of the track list 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.
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. 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. A music video for "Today's Supernatural" was released on August 16, 2012. 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.
|The A.V. Club||C+|
|Los Angeles Times|||
Centipede Hz 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.[not in citation given] On Metacritic, the album has a score of 75 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
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." 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." 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."
Much of the criticism of the album was directed at the album's dense sound. Pitchfork'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." 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." 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."
The album debuted at No. 16 on the Billboard 200 albums chart on its first week of release, with around 17,000 copies sold in the United States. It also debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard's Rock Albums chart, and No. 5 on the Alternative Albums chart. As of January 2016, the album has sold 47,000 copies in the US.
All tracks written by Animal Collective.
|7.||"New Town Burnout"||6:01|
|9.||"Mercury Man" (contains sample of the song "Invasion" by King Tubby)||4:18|
- 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
- Dave Scher – lap steel guitar (2, 7 and 10), melodica (3)
- Riverside Middle School Choir – vocals (6 and 7)
- 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
- Dave Portner – photography, artwork
- Abby Portner – artwork
- Rob Carmichael – artwork
- @Atibaphoto – photography
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||75|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)||32|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)||54|
|Danish Albums (Hitlisten)||36|
|Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)||68|
|Dutch Alternative Albums (MegaCharts)||9|
|French Albums (SNEP)||66|
|Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)||34|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||38|
|UK Album (OCC)||55|
|US Billboard 200||16|
|US Rock Albums (Billboard)||6|
|US Independent Albums (Billboard)||4|
|US Alternative Albums (Billboard)||5|
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- The Arts Desk
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