LAYERING IN ANIMAL COLLECTIVE'S "LEAF HOUSE"


Animal Collective is an American experimental band formed in Baltimore. Though they classify as pop they could easily be considered Avante-Garde alt or rock. In the process of making music, Animal Collective likes to experiment with different sounds, often leading to a very “epic” final product. “Leaf House'' off of their sixth studio album is a testament to how epic a song they can make.



The lyrics are very ambiguous and short. There is a theory that the song is about a book called House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, but no one knows. They spend most of Leaf House repeating the same phrases and noises as the dynamics increase and decrease and voices cut in and out. The instrumental is mainly acoustic with a strumming guitar siphoning drum hits; besides the audio engineering, the electronic presence of the song is very minimal. There are also many ostinato patterns using the bongo drums or the guitar.


The epic-ness of the song mostly comes from their use of vocal layering. At any given point in the track, multiple voices are coming at you in different directions-a new one every four-beat counts. The layering is comparable to “Codename Z”: after the intro of the song, the number of layers increases and decreases very rapidly in the Leaf House. One moment it’ll sound like pure chaos, then it’s serene. The vocals also pan ear-to-ear, making you feel surrounded by the jungle. Leaf House is mostly acoustic with very little electronic presence, yet they can carry the song with just their multiple voices.


Leaf House by Animal Collective shows just how strong the human voice is. Animal Collective didn’t need any fancy synthesizers, bass, extravagant lyrics, featured artists or anything else to make this song so impressionable-all they needed was their combined voice.




Article by Huey

Instagram: @chukieoj

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