Tangerine Reef: 1% Music, 99% Nonsense

Audiofilm music reaches niche crowd


Photo by Animal Collective

This promotional graphic for Animal Collective's album appears on their website.

Sam Klemme, Quintessence Editor-in-Chief

Tangerine Reef, created by the experimental group Animal Collective, is a melismatic set of music that is quite honestly confusing to listen to.

Let me start off here by saying I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had never heard of the band or even some of the genres that the album covers. Let’s just say that the album is unsettling for any new listeners.

Tangerine Reef is an album that was created for the purpose of raising attention to the dying coral reefs and other environmental issues. They helped get this point across by partnering with Coral Morphologic to create a Film that was displayed on their website, which can be found here.

The video, when paired along with the album, totals to about 54 minutes and 27 seconds of shots consisting of, you guessed it, coral reefs. It’s a trip to watch. The bright high definition colors set to the quite bleak and almost dissonant music create a weird and almost disjointed experience.

Getting to the music itself has its moments.

My biggest issue is that all of the album melds together a little too much. I found myself checking if the song had changed about every five minutes because I honestly didn’t know if it had. Songs that continue onto the next in an album work every once in a while, not on every song.

I did enjoy the vibe of the whole album. By vibe, I mean what it’s supposed to make you think. Not once while listening to this album did I question the direction of a song. I understood the whole underwater and floaty atmosphere they were trying to create. On the other hand, the vocals took me a little out of the scene.

The vocals in this entire album are similar to a chant. It has brief parts where the singer, David Portner, also known as Avey Tare, shows off that he can sing specific notes that sound like actual singing. Otherwise, the songs consist of pretty nonsensical wailing that tries extremely hard to be words.

In short, I would only listen to Tangerine Reef once. It has such a weird amalgamation of notes and sounds that I don’t understand how to enjoy it. I just felt a chill go down my back almost every time a new musical idea was introduced. It was creepy and unsettling. I support the cause, but not the music to follow it.

Sam Klemme

Sam joined the Flightline in January of 2017. He is a senior this year, involved in choir, theater and cross country. Outside of school, he sings to himself and sits in his basement. You can email him at [email protected]