Animal Collective’s 11th album, Time Skiffs, came out earlier this year and it’s yet another psychedelic journey into musical mind elevation. While still experimental, the songs on Time Skiffs have more defined form, and as Uproxx’s Steven Hyden says, it’s “Animal Collective’s comeback record.” Yet somehow, through a storied indie rock career with 11 album releases, Animal Collective hadn’t appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series until today.
While their newly released session is technically a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, it actually takes place at the Massachusetts Museum Of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), giving it an especially trippy feel. The concrete-walled room with a concrete stage has lettered designs pasted on the walls as Panda Bear sits on the drums, Geologist is up on stage with his gear, Avey Tare is on bass and lead vocals in the front, and Deakin on the keys. They each take turns adding to the vocal arrangements for three songs: “Dragon Slayer,” “Car Keys,” and “Kings Walk.”
But the trippiest part of the Tiny Desk Concert is the person behind the lone tiny desk itself. Covered in a colorfully-designed cloak, a “time skiff rider” with full face paint, cuts shapes out of construction paper throughout the entire set. “We got our time skiff rider showing up for the tiny desk,” Avey says in between the second and third songs.
It doesn’t make very much sense, but that’s kind of the point. It’s a deeper opportunity to lose yourself in the music amidst something non-sensical and it’s a great Tiny Desk from AC.
Watch Animal Collective’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert above.