Animal Collective Shares “Gem & I”
Animal Collective are back with their new single “Gem & I,” a track the band first began playing live in 2019. The track is the final preview of their new album Isn’t It Now? which arrives on September 29th via Domino Records. Along with the news, the band announces a series of release week global album listening parties in the US, UK and Europe. Group member Avey Tare is currently on a solo tour, with Geologist opening select dates.
In the summer of 2019, Animal Collective rendezvoused in Leiper’s Fork, Tenn., renting a cabin in that bucolic countryside southwest of Nashville. During that literal month-long residency, they realized they actually had at least two records—20 songs or so they all liked, that felt like unexpected avenues into different corners of their universe. Before they could decide what to do with that motivating mass of music, though, the world decided for them, as it did for most everyone during these last four years. They commandeered the nine they knew they could record remotely to a click track, passing file overseas and up and down coasts. In that fashion, they built 2022’s Time Skiffs, a record that felt like a wondrous exhalation at the end of a spell of dizzying exhaustion.
But they held fast to the rest, waiting for the time when the world opened up and they could sequester themselves in the studio with the producer they’d long admired: Russell Elevado. Maybe that name comes as a surprise. During the last 30 years, Elevado has become a legendary figure at the nexus of hip-hop, soul, and jazz, the engineer and producer who has infused albums by D’Angelo, The Roots, and Kamasi Washington with so much warmth. He is also a steadfast analog champion, using his mastery of past gear to make modern landmarks that sound like little else. Animal Collective long wondered how they might work within his orbit. During two weeks at New York’s The Bunker in late 2021 between holidays, they found out with Isn’t It Now?, a brilliant aberration that reaffirms what’s made Animal Collective so special for so long.
Isn’t It Now? is the longest Animal Collective album ever, nearly a third of its runtime going to the entrancing and eruptive ode to hopeful perseverance, “Defeat.” But it feels somehow succinct, like a true-to-life slipstream of anxiety and beauty, nostalgia and progress, sadness and hope that welcomes you in and ushers you out with a single slow breath. They finished it in just 12 days using at most 24 channels, dual testaments not only to the fact that they’d taken these songs on the Time Skiffs tour but also that they were relaxed and engaged, motivated by being in a room together again. Their rapport with Elevado was instant and easy, too, as they navigated from their very different experiences toward mutually new realms. Isn’t It Now? is as communal and supportive as Animal Collective has ever felt.
Pre-order Isn’t It Now? by Animal Collective HERE
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