Ablue muscle-man harvests eggs from a waterfall; a family projectile-vomits goo into a bonfire; a vampire disintegrates. Animal Collective's film Oddsac doesn't sound like your average music video or rockumentary. But then it was never intended to be. The experimental psych-rock band – collaborating with artist Danny Perez – call it a "visual album", where imagery and music are inextricably linked (sometimes the band composed the score in response to Perez's visuals, sometimes he wove them around the music they produced).
"It was meant to be an open-ended operation of audio-video synthesis, the passing back and forth of visuals and sound so that each would inform the other and create an organic structure," explains Perez. Although the DVD is out in July, they won't be releasing the soundtrack. The music and moving images are meant to be taken as a whole, and members of the band perform the live-action scenes themselves.
Animal Collective enjoyed breakthrough success last year with their eighth studio album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, deemed more accessible than their previous outings.
But in America, where Oddsac has been showing since its premiere at Sundance in January, newer fans have been somewhat freaked out by the film's dark and nightmarish vignettes. Perez has described Oddsac as being in the tradition of a 1960s "surrealist romp", and suitably weird live-action sequences are interspersed with psychedelic, abstract visuals. Comparisons to David Lynch or bad acid trips have been rife, and those expecting a coherent plot, happy ending or even a graspable meaning are likely to be disappointed.
Perez had previously made the videos for their 2004 track "Who Could Win a Rabbit?" and for "Summertime Clothes" last year.
Following the success of Oddsac at Sundance, they were also invited to produce a multimedia installation at the Guggenheim Museum in March. The band stood still for three hours while banks of speakers spun out ambient sound and Perez's visuals looped around them. Four years in the making, and their "visual album" promises an equally odd mix for your eyes and ears.
'Oddsac' screens in London, Leeds and Manchester, 13-15 May (Oddsac.com); the DVD is released on 26 JulyReuse content