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Panda Bear marries nostalgia with experimentation on Buoys

Contemporary electronic music wouldn’t quite be the same without Panda Bear. Those familiar with the artist will find the hyper-modern production on his new album Buoys intimately familiar, however, there is something quite unique about the direction of the record in comparison to previous works.

Panda Bear Buoys

Photo via Facebook

After recording 19 albums between solo project Panda Bear and group Animal Collective, mastermind Noah Lennox has finessed his sound and production to something truly unique and mesmerising.

Buoys plays with space in a truly beautiful way, making sure each sound has room to breathe, with a much more stripped-back and muted sound than usual. This comes from Panda Bear’s creative ethos of not repeating oneself.

When discussing the conception of the record with Happy, Panda Bear shared:

…I feel like there’s an emotional, and maybe this is corny to say, but an emotional nakedness to the thing which I’m not sure I’ve… I suppose I’ve dipped my toe in that pool here and there but this really felt like a full-on plunge into that, for better or for worse I guess.

Right from the very first second in the first track Dolphin, the recurring theme of water is introduced – from the water droplet samples to the lyrics, “in the sea.” This also cleverly ties back in with later track Crescendo – everything in this record has been orchestrated with incredible attention to detail.

The deep layer of experimentation is married so carefully with a sense of hypnotic nostalgia, which continues seamlessly throughout the entire album. Panda Bear and co-producer Rusty Santos wanted to create a record that would “feel familiar to a young person’s ears,” and indeed it does. Cranked takes us back to early video games through sample choices and Token is truly reminiscent of childhood playtime.

Throughout the entire record, there is such a consistency tied together through Panda Bear’s sincere voice drenched in vintage reverb, beautiful melodies, interesting guitar tuning, sparseness between highly textured samples and momentous sub-bass. We strongly advise listening through the best audio system you can find to truly experience the evocative treatment of the low end.

Now go float away for half an hour with Buoys!

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February 11, 2019