EXCLUSIVE: Animal Collective and Director Danny Perez On Their Psychedelic Visual Assault, ODDSAC

ODDSAC, a 53-minute experimental film scored by psychedelic indie favorites Animal Collective, is a cortex-punishing experience. Like the demonic product of the unholy union of Stan Brakhage, Matthew Barney and an Elvira and the Party Monsters pinball machine, this "visual album," as the band and director Danny Perez refer to it, seeks to provide a visual palette to accompany the band's hard-to-describe signature sound -- a potent mixed-bag of atonal chords and crunches glossed with surf rock harmonizing. But be warned: If your familiarity with the band is limited to the more accessible stuff on Merriweather Post Pavillion, ODDSAC's jarring, horror-tinged soundtrack might put you off. For his part, Perez manages to concoct a bizarre and eclectic visual soup that frequently returns to the great outdoors: it opens with dark figures spinning hypnotic fireballs in an open field, then introduces us to a velvet-cloaked figure literally washing his balls in a stream (one of the film's many D&D-nerd-inspired images), and later offers a marshmallow roast gone horribly, horribly wrong.

As for psychedelia, if you didn't suffer from epilepsy going into the film, ODDSAC should cure you of that, though Perez's frenetic visual manipulations have an undeniable aesthetic pull; one extended sequence of technicolor noise suggests a sky-darkening swarm of electronic butterflies flapping their wings in unison. Animal's Geologist (née Brian Weitz), the band's electronic alchemist, makes a brief appearance, perched on a rocky outcropping in a ridiculous Renaissance Fair costume, making growling faces at the camera. What does it all mean? Fuck if I know. At the post-screening Q&A, the band said the project, four years in the making, began with a single imagined image: a sad vampire in a rowboat. (For the record, Count Weepula does indeed make a cameo.)

But describing this is a futile effort. Here's the trailer they released to coincide with yesterday's premiere. Imagine 54 minutes of this, and you get an idea of just how odd ODDSAC is.

And here is some video of the Q&A, with Perez and band members Avey Tare, Deakin and Geologist (Panda Bear couldn't make it) describing their process:

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  • trombone dixie says:

    thanks for stealing my joke about epilepsy you jerk. the video coincidentally comes in when danny is answering my joke and then proceeds with my real question.

  • Seth Abramovitch says:

    Yes, you're the only person in that room who thought "seizures" while watching ODDSAC.
    PS, your joke was obnoxious.