When it comes to Animal Collective I feel like an idle dabbler compared to the richness of fans out there and their intense adoration for this band. I could listen to an album like Tangerine Reef over again and feel like there is something I have not picked up on; secrets nestled within the depths of their music. But spending enough time with this band through the years, I can say that Tangerine Reef will impress the most critical of fans, doing exactly what they are best at blending the sublime with reality.
Tangerine Reef is designed as an audiovisual experience in collaboration with Coral Morphologic to commemorate the 2018 International Year of the Reef. A subtle channeling of Jean Painlevé , the film is a homage to the coral reef. Slow pans of fluorescent coral hypnotically float with alien-like movements set to the tone poem of this album. The music in a song like “Buxom” is ghostly. Electronic representations of light through water, the sounds of underwater diving equipment is mimicked as electronics contort into this natural environment. It’s amazing just how beautiful and daunting this minimalist task is.
A Short Trip Through Tangerine Reef: The Audiovisual Album by Animal Collective & Coral Morphologic
“Coral By Numbers” is a combination of ancient Roman-like verse and free jazz emotion, flowing with the accentuation of color and light. One of the more challenging pieces without the visuals, artistic merits still outshine the strangeness of it all.
But then “Coral Understanding” is like if Brian Aldiss wrote spa music in the distant future. The noise sampling is daunting in its powerfulness. It’s a process that goes on to compliment “Best of Times Worst of All.” Is it a soundscape to a distant planet or something that should seem so familiar? Tangerine Reef engulfs our senses while instilling a mystery and loneliness to the essence of what Avey Tare, Deakin, and Geologist do to their conceptualization on how coral lives and breathes.
Yet, is this a film preserving the natural environment of our coral reef system or a subconscious plea for preservation? The video is purely an education of the visual presence of coral. Yet, be it micro or macro-visualization, you cannot help but walk away with a want to question the current need to preserve these habitats. To be aware of its beauty is the best thing anyone can do. It’s a poignant time to make an album like this. Like Homer did to Greek culture, Animal Collective does to underwater culture.