Ahead of the release of his new album, Panda Bear has unveiled a sprawling new online visual collaboration (read: awesome website), forsaking the traditional methods of music promotion in favor of something joyfully nonsensical.
“We wanted to make something really engaging and sort of mysterious, something that folks could visit and play with for longer than a blog post or even a music video,” explains Seen Studio’s Rob Carmichael, one of the project participants. Circumventing the “usual” methods of promotion, the site offers up a showcase of riotous moving imagery and sound that brings together the work of a group of diverse image makers. With video pieces from Danny Perez, pen and ink drawings from Hugo Oliveira, animated .GIFs from Patakk, and images from Marco Papiro, the site unites an array of visual disciplines. “The idea was to get across something about the album without falling back on words, or even simply streaming the album itself,” says Carmichael. “We wanted people to come to the site and get immersed in the headspace of the album.”
Carmichael had already worked with Noah Lennox of Panda Bear on previous artwork, but given the nature of the project, it posed some unique challenges up front. Instead of developing a tight brief, the team agreed that the site just needed to be “strange and immersive.” While much of the design was informed by the music itself, Carmichael explains that the site isn’t an attempt to illustrate the music specifically, but rather achieve a similar effect through purely visual means.
“We wanted visitors to the site to open themselves up to the world of the record. To let the site and the sounds wash over them. It’s also meant to raise a bunch of questions, like ‘What is going on here?’ Which is more interesting than telling people what’s up.”
The final site is pleasantly disruptive, offering up a bewildering collision of styles that Carmichael says was entirely intentional. “We didn’t want to tie things up all nice and neat and make sure they ‘play well together’ as one might say,” he explains. “The idea was more to make each shift from one screen to the next to be about surprise and dissonance. That made constructing the pieces individually work so well—just throw them together and let the moments of friction happen and call it good, you know?”