Avey Tare blends nostalgia and the wisdom of age on Cows on Hourglass Pond | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Avey Tare blends nostalgia and the wisdom of age on Cows on Hourglass Pond 

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click to enlarge Avey Tare

Avey Tare

Madelyn Anderson

Visual art and multimedia forays, including—album covers, music videos, merch designs, stage productions—are a big part of Animal Collective’s distinct flavor, so it makes sense that for his new solo album, Cows on Hourglass Pond, core member Avey Tare (the pseudonym of David Michael Portner) would incorporate some extramusical creative flourishes. By the album’s release on March 22, he’d already released two contrasting videos, the audio-only single “Taken Boy,” and a short story in both text and audio forms—in the latter the words are enhanced with multiple effects including dripping slapback delay over sprawling, airy loop-based soundscapes. These pieces enrich the intricate world that Animal Collective and its offshoots it's created, which has foundations in immersive multi-sensory experiences and nostalgia—and in the idea that childlike wonder and playfulness can be had at any age. Cows on Hourglass Pond embodies these themes particularly well—not by grasping at the past, but by accepting that time moves forward and evolving with it. Tare seems to indicate his own maturation through his vocal delivery—he’s mostly stepped away from his characteristic puppylike spryness to adopt a more mellow approach. Musically, the album is similar to early and middle Animal Collective, but like Tare’s voice, the mood is calm and settled while retaining its vigor and sense of exploration. Though it seems intensely personal and cloaked with enigmatic allure, it’s also blissful and inviting. The music videos, directed by Tare’s sister, Abigail Portner, complement the songs with colorful, sporadically changing abstract animation in “Saturdays (Again)” and tastefully manipulated footage of a horse in “HORS_.” On tour, Tare will perform his solo music with fellow Animal Collective member Deakin and Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks member Jeremy Hyman. Portner provided live visuals for Tare’s tour supporting his 2017 album, Eucalyptus, so a multimedia show that builds upon the aesthetics of Cows on Hourglass Pond seems like a possibility. At the very least, audiences can expect evocative renditions of this new material.   v

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