Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / ‘Sung Tongs’ by Andy Mangold

Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Sung Tongs' by Andy Mangold

Andy Mangold

I’m super excited this morning because we’ve finally reached Sung Tongs, one of my favorite records and a place where I think most Animal Collective fans start their collections. At this point they had recorded 3 albums in two years, although this album was recorded only by Avey Tare and Panda Bear. To me, Sung Tongs feels like they finally felt comfortable with the music they were making, like they really started to understand just what they were doing.

Some of the songs on this album are some of my favorites of theirs overall. I’ve posted Kids on Holiday above as the sample because it’s possibly one of my favorite Animal Collective songs. There’s a pace and rhythm to this song that’s unlike any I’ve ever heard, it’s hypnotic. Then you have songs like Winter’s Love, which I would personally describe as a beautiful track. Split in two, the beginning melody acts as a prelude to what’s to come. Even the 12:37 song Visiting Friends is beautiful, a slow hush of guitars over a trickle of random-seeming, ambient sounds.

As for the wallpaper today, I can’t think of anyone better to interpret this then the curator of this series, Andy Mangold. Andy has such a vibrancy to his design style, all of his work feels so crisp and perfect. He’s also a master of all mediums, doing everything from posters, branding, package design, even a wood block calendar with custom designed numerals.

With Andy’s wallpaper for Sung Tongs I feel like he’s totally captured the energy and beauty of the album. I think if someone didn’t know better they’d think this was the real album cover. It’s colorful without being jarring and there’s lots of room for your icons, for Mac or Windows kids. Here’s what he had to say about his wallpaper.

Sung Tongs feels very childish to me, in a good way. There is an immaturity and naivete that gives the whole album an air of authenticity and rawness. The image of the children playing on the jungle-gym is how I choose to imagine David and Noah creating the album, experimenting, probing, exploring, and above all else, laughing.

The diversity of sounds and sonic textures is staggering, especially considering it was all created by only two people. I tried to represent this variation visually with the spectrum of colored, textured bars layered over the imagery.

A very big thanks to Andy for not only this beautiful wallpaper but for curating so many amazing artists. The talented folks chosen have made some of the best wallpapers out there, and I owe him a lot. Thanks Andy! Check back next week when we explore Feels.

August 17, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / ‘Here Comes The Indian’ by Niv Bavarsky

Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Here Comes The Indian' by Niv Bavarsky

Niv Bavarsky

Continuing on this fine collection of Animal Collective inspired wallpapers, we’ve got this rad piece by Baltimore illustrator Niv Bavarsky. He was tasked with tackling the challenge that is Here Comes the Indian, Animal Collective’s first official release as AC with all the members from the current line-up you know and love. This was their fourth album, and a vast departure from their previous Campfire Songs. I think the phrase ‘psych-folk’ started getting tossed around because of their practice of taking a more traditional acoustic guitar sound and messing it up with electronic effects. Honestly, this is a tough album to listen to, but I think Niv did an amazing job.

As you’ll see in his personal statement, his combination of both digital and physical is a great way to approach this. The album is this mess of sounds and his wallpaper reflects that really well. I also thought it was funny that he chose to use a campfire for his wallpaper, drawing upon an element from the last album and tweaking it for this wallpaper. Overall I’m a big fan of his work. There’s something about his style that’s so uniquely him, his painterly lines and his great color choices. Here’s what he had to say about his wallpaper:

“Here Comes the Indian” combines a lot of disparate elements: harsh electronic noise, organic improvisation, sadness and celebration. I set out to make something in this spirit, working instinctively and combining traditional & digital process.”

A big thanks to Niv for such a great, handmade wallpaper and to our curator Andy Mangold for yet another ace choice. Check back next week for Sung Tongs!

August 10, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / ‘Campfire Songs’ by Andrea Kalfas

Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Campfire Songs' by Andrea Kalfas

Andrea Kalfas

I’m so excited for today’s wallpaper, I think that Baltimore illustrator Andrea Kalfas has made one of the most beautiful wallpapers I’ve ever featured. I’m also really happy that she created a wallpaper for the Animal Collective album Campfire Songs. Not quite an album and not considered an EP, Campfire Songs was recorded by the full roster of Animal Collective, though the Geologist didn’t perform on this one, but it is the first album to feature Deakin. A fun fact, the entire album was recorded in one take on a cold night in Novemeber outside on a screen porch in Maryland.

As for Andrea, she has her BFA in illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art and now is a freelance illustrator. Her work is really lighthearted and extremely expressive, with lots of bold lines and inspiring color palettes. The details and textures in her wallpaper are so beautiful, and the subtle touch of purple in the large moth in the front is simply perfection. Here’s what she had to say about her wallpaper:

“Not surprisingly, listening to Campfire Songs led to to the obvious image of sitting around a campfire in the woods at night, but I felt as though I was far away, beyond the reach of the fire and the songs. It felt as though the music wasn’t meant for me, that it was a private concert just for the singer and the insects were the only audience to it. I wanted to draw lots of little nocturnal bugs, flying around and enjoying the music I could only hear from far off, unable to see the performer.”

A big thanks to Andrea for such a lovely wallpaper, and a bigger thank to Andy Mangold for curating this batch of wallpaper and finding such great artists and designers.


August 3, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / ‘Danse Mantaee’ by Jimmy Giegerich

Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Danse Mantaee by Jimmy Giegerich

Jimmy Giegerich

It’s our second week of Animal Collective inspired desktop wallpapers, and today we’ve got a totally weird one from Baltimore illustrator Jimmy Geigerich. To be clear though, that’s exactly what this wallpaper should be, because Jimmy got one of the weirdest, most difficult Animal Collective records to interpret, 2001’s Danse Manatee.

Every week I do some research on each album, and a part of that is listening to each album. Danse Manatee was and is incredibly difficult to listen to all the way through. I can handle noisy, but this album is like chaos through organs and drums. This is the first album to feature The Geologist though, who also claims it to be one of his favorite albums. According to Wikipedia, “the band was into extreme frequencies. Their goal was to experiment with intense high and low sounds and how they occupied space in the room and moved around in the listener’s head.” Well, that explains a lot.

Thankfully Jimmy Giegerich had the skills to handle this album. I love Jimmy’s style, he’s like that guy in middle school who would draw the grossest things possible all over his notebooks. Kind of a Pushead meets Japanese culture vibe to his work, it’s fantastic. Here’s what Jimmy had to say about his wallpaper:

I chose to do the piece that I did for a few reasons. Most of my illustration is narrative driven, so I couldn’t help but start to come up with kind of weird ideas for scenes and things while I was listening to the album. What I really like about the album and Animal Collective’s music in general is that their music seems to allow the listener to interpret it in their own way, and that’s kind of what I did here. I drew a whole scene based on different elements of the album, with the main element being based off of the song Meet the Light Child. What really stuck out to me about this song is that it goes from sounding kind of creepy and harsh, to sounding kind of nice and mellow, and back and forth. Like something that is both exciting and frightening at the same time, which is where I came up with the emotions of the figures around the “light child” in my piece. I wanted to go for something that fit well with the mood of the album, but told it’s own weird story at the same time.

I think he did an awesome job, and even though there’s a lot going on, it’s still dark enough to easily see your icons (trust me, I tried it). A big thanks to Andy Mangold yet again for curating this series, he’s done an awesome job so far. Check back next Wednesday for Animal Collective’s Campfire Songs.


July 27, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / ‘Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished’ by Nick Iluzada

Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished' by Nick Iluzada

Nick Iluzada

I’m really excited to share this new Sights & Sounds series, and so happy to see people who are equally excited to create something rad. I’ve been a big Animal Collective fan for years now, and I felt like they had the right vibe to really inspire some great looking wallpapers. Our first wallpaper in the series is for Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished. Recorded back in ’99, the album is technically the work of Avey Tare and Panda Bear, the other guys hadn’t joined the group yet, and was heavily inspired by Avey Tare’s move from Baltimore to New York. It’s amazing how you can so easily hear the very foundations of their style in this album. The production, while not the greatest, is the one thing that makes it feel not quite right. Nonetheless, it’s actually a pretty amazing album, Panda Bear’s drumming in particular is something to hear at the very least.

To illustrate the album our fearless curator Andy chose Nick Iluzada, who has one of the coolest last names ever. Before this project I wasn’t familiar with Nick’s illustration work, which is a total shame. Nick has a wonderful sense for color and motion, check out his Footbawlerz series to see exactly what I mean. The variety and creativity in his sketchbooks is also something worth checking out as well.

Here’s what Nick had to say about his wallpaper:

“I created this image simply with the hope of capturing the feel of some specific tracks (most notably Chocolate Girl, Untitled, Someday I’ll Grow To Be As Tall As the Giant, and Alvin Row) with the album title as the jumping off point. While the record sways back and forth between gritty, high-pitched noise and serene textures, I felt that there was some sort of middle ground that could be worked with in terms of bringing the imagery away from it’s Baltimore (make everything neon rainbows) roots and a subdued yet coarse feel would do just the trick.”

A huge thanks to Nick for creating such a beautiful wallpaper and Andy Mangold for choosing such a talented guy. Check back next Wednesday at 10AM PST for the next wallpaper in our series, Animal Collective’s Danse Manatee.


July 20, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds Presents Animal Collective

Sights & Sounds Presents Animal Collective

It’s been a few months since the last Sights & Sounds wallpapers, so I figured it was time for more music influenced wallpapers. This time around we’re going to visualize the music of Animal Collective, the Baltimore based weirdo-rock outfit who are always expanding their sound.

To curate this round of wallpapers, I’ve asked Baltimore designer Andy Mangold to gather the troops and create a well-rounded group of creative individuals. Andy is a phenomenal graphic designer who creates inventive logos, beautiful posters, creative branding and so much more. He’s also the founder of Friends of the Web, a team of designers building websites and mobile apps, as well as Love & Utility, which collects beautiful paraphernalia.

There are eight wallpapers total, and I promise that all of them are stunning. I was really excited by how well they all turned out. I think you’ll be excited too. The first wallpaper will be released at 10AM PST, so be sure to check it out and come back every Wednesday for more.


July 20, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds Presents Broken Social Scene: ‘Forgiveness Rock Record’ by Alex Westgate

Alex Westgate

Well, we’re finishing up our second Sights & Sounds wallpaper series devoted to Broken Social Scene, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. For BSS’s last and most recent record, Forgiveness Rock Record, we’ve got Alex Westgate, a fantastic illustrator and designer. Alex is currently studying at Ontario College of Art & Design but you can tell he’sn already is a really talented artist.

As for his wallpaper, Alex decided to take a nostalgic look at the album:

For my wallpaper I chose to focus in on the song that I felt best represented the feel and “forgiveness” theme of the album. “Sentimental X’s” is a song that undoubtably deals with the bands off and on dynamic. Emily Haines sings ” A friend of a friend you used to call. Or a friend of a friend you used. You used to call.” To me the song is about forgotten, neglected friendships and the strong emotional ties that can be formed between two people. The idea that even when a relationship is taken for granted the bond that exists between both parties is never broken. I wanted to show this through the relationship we have with material objects and the meaning we give to them, things like toys from our childhood and other objects we no longer have use for. We store them away and may never touch or even look at them for years but because of our sentimental ties, we cannot bare to part with them.

Super rad, thanks so much Alex. And yet again, a huge thanks to Andrew & Matt McCracken of Doublenaut for gathering together such an awesome crew of creative folks from Toronto. If you haven’t seen the other Broken Social Scene wallpapers be sure to click here. We’ll be back to some non-music related wallpapers next week, and in a little bit we’ll start up a new Sights & Sounds.


April 20, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds Presents Broken Social Scene: ‘Broken Social Scene’ by Matias Palacios-Hardy

Matias Palacios-Hardy

Well it’s Wednesday already, which means we’re on your third of four wallpapers celebrating the awesome music of Broken Social Scene. This week’s desktop is for their self-titled album Broken Social Scene, which came out near the end of 2005. The album was pretty different from their previous, You Forgot It In People, being a lot more about jamming and feeling less introspective. But to me personally it was an awesome step forward in their musical style.

Visualizing the album is Matias Palacios-Hardy, a wonderful Toronto based illustrator who I think did an amazing job. I was so excited to see that he painted his entry, it gives it such life and texture. Here’s what his wallpaper is all about:

My favourite Broken Social Scene record. For some reason I always call this record ‘Major Label Debut.’ It is neither the name of the album nor even a literal descriptor. It is one of their songs and it does feel apt for this release, the band at their peak.

This wallpaper is an illustration about the misconceptions of being a successful musician. Broken Social Scene is a successful Canadian band. And being a successful Canadian band is not the same as being a successful American band. We are a huge country, but with a tiny population. A gold record here isn’t what it is in other countries. And then quantify that by having to divide your cash out to 15 or so members. Sadly, that does not equate to Concorde money.

Makes you think. Hopefully one day the band can buy their own Concorde and travel the world, dreams really do come true. A huge thanks for Matias and to the Doublenaut bros for finding such a rad guy to participate. Check back next week for our last wallpaper in the series, Forgiveness Rock Record.


April 13, 2011 / By