When we last heard from Panda Bear (a.k.a. Noah Lennox), he had released the dizzying video for "Mr. Noah." Today he returns with "Boys Latin," the second single from the forthcoming Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper album, one of a collection of songs honed on the road. It bears all the harmonic and melodic hallmarks of the Panda Bear sound, but features far grittier electronic textures than we've come to expect.
For “Boys Latin,” Panda Bear enlisted visually adventurous indie animators Isaiah Saxon and Sean Hellfritsch. The result is a video every bit as hallucinatory and sumptuous as their psychedelic Jim Henson-esque piece for Björk's "Wanderlust," but with a nod to the graceful, panoramic motion of Studio Ghibli's animated films Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky.
The video, which Panda Bear premiered at 1:08 EST on Adult Swim, took Saxon and Hellfritsch's San Francisco-based Encyclopedia Pictura studio four months to animate in 3D. It's the story of a young woman out for a hike among tidal pools, whose body and perception turn phantasmagorical after she touches a sea anemone. After growing accustomed to her new state of being, the woman meets a man who is in the midst of a similar reaction, and the two continue through the environment together.
The pair's mental and bodily reactions, though surreal and psychedelic, aren't fantasia but Saxon and Hellfritsch's attempt to create a synaesthetic effect—a blending of the senses—between humanity and nature.
"We tried hard to bring out the vibe of that alternating melody that Noah is singing,” Saxon said. “We wondered what that should look and feel like from a synesthesia perspective.”
“We've always believed that shapes and forms themselves have emotional meaning,” he added. “For example, round things are often cute and non-threatening, while spiky things usually seem dangerous. We ran with that idea by creating these dynamic forms that grow out of our characters as they deal with their emotions."
While fans will have to wait for Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper's January 13th release, they can slake their Panda Bear thirst on the Mr. Noah EP, streaming now on a variety of outlets. To pre-order Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, head over to Domino Records.