Panda Bear (Aka Noah Lennox, a founding member of seminal Baltimore freak-folk experimentalists Animal Collective) is back in Berlin this week, touring 6th solo album Buoys, and bringing us some of his blissed out, woozy surf psychedelia just in time for Spring.
By Hannah Robinson
Lennox’s breakout album (2007’s Person Pitch) followed his move to Lisbon, Portugal, where he’s been based ever since with his wife and kids. The lightness, space and warmth of his adoptive country and slower paced lifestyle has been woven through Panda Bear’s oeuvre since.
But while Person Pitch, Tomboy (2011) and Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper (2015) were full to the brim with layered, crescendoing euphoria, Buoys marks Noah’s most stripped back record to date, using just a handful of sounds and a healthy dose of acoustic guitar to build it’s relatively sparse melodies. Throw into the mix some Brian Wilson-esque vocals, sung in hypnotic repetition, and you have a psych pop album of ASMR level zenness.
Lead single and opening track Dolphin is a slice of sun-drenched trippiness, a symphony of found sounds (arcade games, water drips) punctuated by Noah’s reverb-drenched voice. It sets a dreamy and delicate tone that follows through the album.
Noah worked with Person Pitch producer Rusty Santos on the record, and the team borrowed production techniques from trap and Soundcloud hip hop, to create something that would “feel familiar to a young person’s ears,”.
Whether or not it had that effect of impressing Lennox’s kids, (who he admits currently find his music “super weird“), it marks an evolution to his sound, resulting in a straightforward and sincere album peppered with sonic Easter eggs “I like trying to make music for the kind of person who would listen to a record 300 times to find something new every time,”.
Buoys is an album that demands attention, and a suburb set of speakers, which is why we’re stoked to hear him play Dolphin (we hope) and other slices of otherworldly pop at Frannz Club this Sunday. indieBerlin have two tickets to give away: contact win(at)indieberlin.de for your chance to win them.