Release Date: May 28, 2013
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock
There won't be many EPs this year with such a broad range of styles as the Monkey Been To Burn Town Remix EP, but then this is Animal Collective we're talking about. You sense that Panda Bear and co. see Brian DeGraw as a kindred spirit, and the man who gives Gang Gang Dance their electronic soul rises to the challenge with a sprawling, avant-pop remix of "Monkey Riches." One of juke's originators, Traxman, pumps the track full of adrenalin, switching between an out-and-out footwork rhythm and loping ghetto-tech.
Whatever you think about Centipede Hz, it definitely sounded like the work of a band that was on its own path. Since raising their profile considerably after the breakthrough album Merriweather Post Pavilion and maintaining that amount of accessibility on the subsequent Fall Be Kind EP, the material Animal Collective have released since-- from the “visual album” ODDSAC to the live box Animal Crack Box to the solo efforts from Panda Bear and Avey Tare-- has not pandered. And Centipede Hz continued the trend, taking the band’s most distinctive elements-- yelping vocals, busy production-- and amplifying them.
Centipede HZ was cluttered, but it was meant to be: signposted by evaporating radio frequencies and samples from digital childhood adventures, it sought to bring us an Animal Collective story that was exuberant and claustrophobic, as if every great memory was happening at once. You can understand the ambivalence—Merriweather Post Pavilion, their breakthrough album, offered enough space within its immaculately crafted pop songs that you discovered it in your own time, and often unto your own season. (For me, it was a snow album, but there’s literally a song called “Summertime Clothes”, arguing otherwise.) Centipede HZ, on the other hand, got your opinion at once.
Less than a year since Animal Collective’s Centipede Hz saw them revert from the comparative poppiness of Merriweather Post Pavilion, the band continues futher down their glitchy, unsettled rabbit hole. Their new remix EP, Monkey Been To Burntown, is a resolutely challenging one, featuring the already clanging, restless psychedlics of their tracks ‘Monkey Riches’ and ‘New Town Burnout’ twisted and turned inside out, back to front and firmly out of the ordinary. And they were pretty extraordinary to begin with.
“Out of my body, out of my mind,” echoes Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler over the duo’s remix of Animal Collective’s “New Town Burnout”. In eight short words, Butler epitomizes the effect of an AnCo listening experience — an experience amplified here by the broken sci-fi score of Shabazz beatsmith Tendai Maraire. Originally an instrumental produced by Panda Bear at the tail end of his Tomboy recording process, “New Town Burnout” made its way to 2012’s Centipede HZ as a straightforward (for AnCo) psych-pop burner.