29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Like another reviewer on here, I was not all that impressed with Panda Bear's first solo record, Young Prayer. It was overly simple and lo-fi. There's not much that I can say about it that hasn't been said before. However, with Person Pitch, Panda Bear has created an amazing audio tapestry of hazy samples and sun-drenched guitarscapes. If I had to reduce this review to as few words as possible, I would say this: Fennesz's Endless Summer meets the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds in Animal Collective's basement. I hesitate to mention AC here but this album is definitely reminiscent of the more melodic parts of Feels. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is more accessible on the first listen than any AC release.
There are only 7 tracks here, but there is no filler on the album and two of the tracks exceed the 10-minute mark. It opens with Comfy In Nautica - a repeated choral loop on top of simple 1-2-3-4 factory-noise percussion that floats underneath Noah's (Panda's real name) nostalgic singing. The next track, Take Pills, reminds me of Banshee Beat from Feels in that it begins slow and lurching but becomes upbeat about 3 minutes into it. "I don't want for us to take pills anymore..." is the catchy refrain to this one. Next comes Bros, the album's centerpiece. It starts with the sound of an owl hooting, but jumps into the melody very quickly. It desolves into lovely, hazy AC territory about halfway through, and the owl comes back for some background vocal work.
There are four other tracks that come next. I'm not going to try to go through each of them here, mostly because I fear my adjectives will become redundant. But if you enjoy the first three tracks, you're most likely going to enjoy the last four. Every track on here has a similar sound and feel to it, but they each stand out on their own. I highly recommend this to fans of AC, who most likely do not need my recommendation, but also to people who feel like AC is maybe a bit too out there for them at times.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Panda Bear's Person Pitch is proof positive why it's necessary for Animal Collective to remain a "collective" rather than a permanent band: the members just have too many ideas. Granted, they leapfrogged from style to style on each of their albums anyway, but Animal Collective drummer Panda Bear's latest sounds like the work of one man making music on his own terms, and reflects his own current state of mind. See, Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) just moved to ultra-laid-back Lisbon, and sure enough, Person Pitch sounds like the Beach Boys' California love filtered through a strange exoticism that's easy to associate with a place like Portugal. It retains Animal Collective's ebullient, idealistic attitude, but it's more low-key and atmospheric: quiet drum machines and plinked instruments awash in a psychedelic cloud. And, as you would expect from an animal in the Collective, the vocals are treated in wonderfully creative ways; the fact that Panda Bear sounds uncannily like Brian Wilson is just a really big bonus.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Listening to this album as an Animal Collective fan, I was surprised by this album. Of course, I was expecting it to be a mind-bending and experimental album. However, I did not expect that it would be on of the best albums I'd heard in the contemporary music scene. It is the absolute apex of mixing jarring experimentalism with shiny 60's pop melodies. Brian Wilson on a ketamine bender: that's more or less the best way to describe it. Absolutely perfect, not a wasted moment on this album. Essential listening for anyone even mildly interested.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2009
Format: Audio CD
In 2009, Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective is lauded as an instant classic, praised for it's brilliance in bringing the AC sound full circle. But even better than that record is their co-singer Noah Lennox's (better known as Panda Bear) solo record from 2007, Person Pitch. In fact, this is the music that paved the way for MPP, with its experimental, yet listenable quality, its genius use of samplers, and its brilliant vocal melodies. Now, don't get turned off by the sampler part, because Panda Bear uses samples much different than any artist I've ever heard. If you look at the youtube video called "samples used by panda bear on person pitch", you'll clearly see that Panda Bear took parts from these songs (which range from 50's rock n roll to folk to electronic to medieval choral pieces) and uses them dynamically and writes a whole new song over them. while making it the main instrumental part of the song. It's more complicated than it sounds. Much more. This album could've been a disaster, and to some, it might be. To me the record has some of the most original music out there, and is one of the most enjoyable. From the 12 minute epics Bros and Good Girl/Carrots, to the fun stomp of Take Pills, to my personal favorite I'm Not. In fact, all 7 songs on here are brilliant. This was easily the best record of 2007, but since I'm just getting around to reviewing it as the decade is at a close, I will say that this is one of my favorite musical feats of the decade.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2008
Format: MP3 Music
An album of this standing, if ever, rarely comes along. Animal Collective's Noah Lennox furthers his alter role as Panda Bear and boy are we ever glad he did. Call it experimental, far-outlandish or even psychedelic if you will. The sheer truth is that "Person Pitch" is genius. Intoxicating and optimistic, it's almost spiritual! Maybe Portugal had some something to do with (Noah now resides in Libson, Portugal with his wife and daughter) who knows? What we do know is that the album is full of subtle surprises that reveal themselves with every listen; typical of Animal Collective, I know. But "Person Pitch" is truly in a class of it's own. Simply put, this is one of the most beautiful, personal, special, good-spirited, healthy, invigorating, enchanting, exhilarating, carefully crafted albums of all time.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Let me be blunt. The Panda Bear album was sent from God. Whoever you are Mr. Panda Bear Sir, I know exactly what you're saying. And I can't understand half of your lyrics.
I listen to it everyday. Panda Bear is completely in tune with it. This album will scramble your brain, and garnish it with sweet soothing revelations. Makes me feel like I belong. The words are quite irrelevant, me and a very good friend agreed.
The artwork is the full expression of the sound as well.
If you will all now turn in your hymnals to page 420 and stand as we sing "Bros." by Panda Bear.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
While I adore Panda Bear's work in the Animal Collective, I just never warmed up to "Young Prayer." It was too simple, too meandering.
Fortunately the same is not true of the follow-up, "Person Pitch," which adds some extra sonic dimension to Panda Bear's strange melodies. Where once his music was spare and almost painfully lo-fi, now it's a shimmering, bizarre, otherworldly extravaganza, like a hazy-eyed circus.
It opens with a rattling, fluttering noise, like a kitchen appliance right before it dies. It gets joined in by the sound of marching, a lion roaring, and voices raised in wordless song. It sounds like a happy, cheerful revolution.
Over those sounds, Panda Bear sings rather distantly, "Try to tell me how to do it/only because I'm new to here/coolness is having courage/courage to do what's right/I'll try to remember always/just to have a good time/good time good time good time..."
The songs that follow are much the same -- stately tambourine pop, an acoustic indiepop number that sounds like it was played underwater, swirling cacophonies, shimmering vocal pop, tribal beats, ethereal ambient stuff, and finally the soft, unsure, shimmering "Ponytail" with its distant vocals.
And he sprinkles it with plenty of other stuff -- sirens, bubbling water, descending planes, owls hooting, and basically whatever odd, appropriate sounds work in these songs. Perhaps the main problem is that it's full of double songs that would have worked better if they had been cut into separate tracks.
But it shows that Panda Bear is adept at swirling, bizarrely otherworldly music. The music here is more ethereal and less earthy than his Animal Collective work -- rather than a crazy acid trip or a tribal party (although we do get some wild tribal beats), this music sounds like a gentle dream of peace and shimmering skies.
Instead of the acoustic stuff of "Young Prayer," we have wild painting of samplers, keyboard, shimmering synth, bittersweet ambience, and occasionally a bit of sprightly guitar pop. Sometimes it sounds like a mess, yet somehow it swirls together into an exquisite pop tapestry.
And it has some lovely lyrics too: "When my soul starts glowing/when my soul starts growing/I am as I want to be/and I know I never will stop growing." Panda Bear's voice is a sweet, subdued one, which he uses as an instrument as often as he actually sings -- he becomes a part of the warm, dreamlike sound.
Beautiful and airy, "Person Pitch" is a complete 180 from his previous solo work. But that is only for the best -- an exquisite little sonic gem.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Noah Lennox, known more commonly by his moniker Panda Bear, is a founding member of the experimental-indie band Animal Collective and has now become one of the most successful and innovative musicians in the 21st century. His blending of psychedelic, electronic, and tribal music styles has made every release extremely anticipated and, often times, met with high accolades.
I remember the first time I had heard Panda Bear's music. It was the beginning of 2009 and I was in my senior year of high school when a classmate recommended I listen to Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective's newest album at the time. Heeding his recommendation was no longer a question, as he had introduced me to albums that are now considered modern classics, such as Radiohead's Kid A and Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I went home that day after school, downloaded the album, and was amazed. They somehow managed to create a new type of sound, with influences ranging from African drumming to the hallucinogenic 60's to Aphex Twin. It was then that I decided to dive into their past and discover their earlier material and was eventually brought to Person Pitch, Panda Bear's solo album released in 2007.
Person Pitch is an album that consists mostly of sampled loops, with Panda Bear singing over in a reverb-drenched, highly melodic style, oftentimes compared to Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. However, these samples are hard to discern and don't come off as forced. They are placed so precisely and intricately that although one can hear that it was recorded by one person with laptop/electronic assistance, it never comes off as choppy or awkward to listen to. Instead, the music tends to invoke a sense of floating singularity, making the album almost impossible to not listen to front to back.
The first song, "Comfy in Nautica," opens with a sample of a crowd of people clapping in rhythm and chanting. This sample, originally recorded by the Choir of All Saints, combined with Lennox's vocals, reflects the warmth and sunshine of Portugal, the location where Lennox lived and recorded Person Pitch. The song gradually builds with more layers and eventually ends in a frenzy of machine sounds combined with the chanting and clapping of the sample heard first in the beginning of the song. The samples of what sounds like jet engines and heavy machinery heard at the tail end of the song reveal influences of Pierre Schaeffer, an early experimental musician and pioneer of musique concrète who recorded sounds of trains and canal boats in his composition "Cinq études de bruits (Five Studies of Noises)" in 1948. "Take Pills," the second song on the album, opens up with a sample from Scott Walker's "Always Coming Back to You," released on his 1967 baroque pop album Scottie. With a tambourine and guitar as the focal point, this song starts off slow and has the sound of mid 60's rhythm and blues combined with Lennox's unique touch. As the song continues, it eventually breaks into faster tempos more commonly associated with modern, electronic music.
The two marathon songs on the album, "Bros" and "Good Girl/ Carrots," both clock in at over twelve minutes and serve as the centerpiece of the album not only for their positioning towards the middle, but also because of their extensive sampling and flawless production. "Good Girl/ Carrots" samples two of the heaviest hitters in 20th century electronic and production innovation. Towards the end of the song, Lennox changes the song drastically from upbeat and dance-oriented rhythm to a dub, almost hip hop breakdown by sampling "Enter the Dragon" by Lee Scratch Perry. Lee Scratch Perry was one of the first people to shift the focus of simply the performer to that of the performer and the producer in the studio. This influence can be heavily seen on Person Pitch, as elements of heavy bass heard in Perry's early dub recordings are often paired with electronic sounds similar to those composed by Perry and his more electronic music partner, Mad Professor. Also in "Good Girl/Carrots" is a sample from Kraftwerk, one of the first bands to popularize electronic music in the 1970's. Panda Bear uses a sample from their song "Ananas Symphonie," which utilizes a sort of wind chime placed through some sort of computerized effect creating a whimsical, childish feel.
As the album closes with "Ponytail," Lennox talks about how his "... soul starts growing," leaving the listener both satisfied with the overwhelming depth of the music heard on the album, while at the same time yearning to hear more of what this fine musician can do. On his most recent album, Tomboy (released in 2011), Panda bear continued to define his role as a leader in the field of electronic music, while at the same time nodding to the great musical influences of the past.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Person Pitch, the album from Noah Lennox a.k.a. "Panda Bear" from Animal Collective, reflects if any one thing the talent level in AC. The few similarities to AC are PB's use of all kinds of noises and looping, such as the owl hooting at the beginning of "Bros." The samples are always used tastefully and in interesting ways so as to not distract the listener from the real highlight of this work - Lennox's considerable vocal talents coupled with his sound mixing to create harmonies that are simply gorgeous. Comparisons to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys are apt and are mostly due to his abilities as a singer and creator of harmonies. He distinguishes himself from most other artists by allowing the song to morph into other songs that are complimentary to one another. By the end of the track the listener feels they've been taken on a wonderful journey of experimentation akin to any great live jazz or rock improvisation. Highlights of the album are: "Bros," "Good Girl/Carrots," and "Take Pills," all three of which start out with a certain groove/harmony, then morph into another and somehow remain cohesive. "Good Girl/Carrots" has three separate morphs, each of which are timely and take the song into a natural and simultaneously experimental direction, and yet the entire time there is Panda's lovely, angelic harmonies anchoring the song. There is no filler on this album and the great thing is if you like one song you'll most likely like all the songs. It's no wonder Person Pitch ended up at the top of so many critics lists. It is the only album that can come close to achieving the grandeur of a "Pet Sounds," yet never sounding derivative or pretentious.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2007
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Thank heavens for Noah Lennox. His follow-up to the excellent Young Prayer LP is its complete inverse: maximal where the prior was minimal, cheerful instead of mournful, more influenced by dub and electronica than folk. And yet both albums are great.
Person Pitch begins with "Comfy in Nautica", which both defines the album's sound and provides an accessible jumping-off point, like any good opener should. To get an idea of what the sound is like this time around, picture Brian Wilson singing in the middle of a car factory somewhere in the middle of Africa, with drums and noises from outside sometimes working their way into the mix, and the occasional guest appearance by some thick, dubby basslines.
"Comfy in Nautica" itself is pretty simple; some clattering industrial percussion, a towering looped vocal sample and Lennox's heavily reverbed vocals. These same elements show up repeatedly elsewhere on the album, but thankfully there's much more to it than just that. Take, for instance, the ferocious tabla opener to "Good Girl/Carrots", the second of two twelve-minute epics on the album, and one of my favorite tracks. This is followed by a loping, easy section. The lyrics here seem to reference Mitch Hedburg, before breaking off into a gentle debate with a music snob who's attempting to put Lennox down. Then the track drifts underwater, accompanied by chimes and heavy bass as Panda exhorts us to "Take a risk just for yourselves/and wade into the deepest of the oceans". The track ends on an exultant note, the shimmering chimes drawing it to its close.
In fact, I'm pretty sure Person Pitch is worth buying for "Carrots" alone. But other tracks like the whirling, giddy guitar jam of "Bros" and the smooth echoes of "I'm Not" are equally elating. It's easily the happiest album released this year, and probably the most conventionally listenable thing any member of Animal Collective has ever created.