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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Mackayle Weedon
Mackayle Weedon
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My name is Makaylee! I am going to be a senior majoring in Social Media Design Management. I am apart of the Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority chapter on campus! I love thrifting, photography, skiing and going...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Panda Bear meets the Grim Reaper

When I was 16 years old and first heard Panda Bear, or Noah Lennox, an eclectic multi-instrumentalist and member of Animal Collective, I thought I was listening to a pagan Beach Boys, where Brian Wilson’s acid problem was never really a problem and Charles Manson’s Family just wasn’t weird enough.

That was Panda Bear’s second LP, “Person Pitch,” where he channeled organic melody twists through digital kaleidoscopic portals.

Turning around two years later, indie radio began sounding like ritual sacrifices of Day-Glo Care Bears, as if every band was attempting to emulate the soundscapes of Animal Collective and Panda Bear. Trippy went mainstream again and the hula hoops followed behind.

His new album, “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper,” released Friday, Jan. 9, recovers the strange idiosyncrasies that defined his early work and was lost in his 2011 release, “Tomboy.”

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Layered throughout “Grim Reaper” are the distinct compressions and tonal continuities that made me fall in love with “Person Pitch” seven years ago.

His singles, “Mr Noah” and “Boys Latin,” took me two listens before my head bobbed and a Cheshire Cat grin stretched over my face.

In true vinyl fashion, the album’s mood changes between the first and second half. Through the seventh track, “Come to Your Senses,” the album turns vigorously, staying energetic and spellbinding.

Then, in “Tropic of Cancer,” the album goes minimal and stays ambient for the next three tracks. So skilled he is, I thought I was hearing a scratched, generic Target-bought yoga CD, produced by a lapsed satanist. Take that how you want— it’s a compliment.

Turning back around in “Principe Real,” the album’s denouement tracks melt the former two moods together, like a second wind at 10 p.m.

And in “Acid Wash,” the final track, Animal Collective’s signature electricity (which almost mimics the hum-and-rattle from the University Center’s light system) emerges to cap out the album.

This track sounds like an homage to their peak and subsequent wide-ranging influence.

I’ve waited six years to hear this much color come through an Animal Collective affiliated album.

I flashed back to tenth grade, driving around and hallucinating myself through this intensely visual music.

Nevertheless, driving this album are Panda Bear’s individual eccentricities typically muffled in his collaborative efforts.

Without fail, he makes music no one else could, no matter their valiant attempts.

Panda Bear’s artistic maturation emanates throughout “Grim Reaper.” So much so, I hate to even mention Animal Collective, as Noah’s virtuosity stands alone.

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