The new interactive website of experimental musician Panda Bear is a digital rabbit hole of psychedelic animations and video art. As you tap your laptop’s arrow keys or swipe on your smartphone, the screen of PBVSGR.com morphs: Reptile eyeballs melt into footage of a poodle-skirted sock-hopper eating ice cream; op-art graphics blink like strobe lights; Day-Glo body-painted dancers spin through a kaleidoscope. Another swipe reveals a Grim Reaper in a glittering cape, a visual reference to the title of the artist’s forthcoming album, [i]Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, for which the website is an elaborate teaser.
The site is a montage of work by video artist Danny Perez, who will play a sold-out live show with Panda Bear on January 11 in New York City, and is also full of visual contributions by Marco Papiro, Patakk, Hugo Oliveira, and others. Some of the footage was used in Panda Bear’s live shows last year; other graphics are animations of the upcoming album’s 2-D cover art. The site is soundtracked with a brand new score by Panda Bear and Sonic Boom, a collaborator from the experimental British band, Spacemen 3.
It’s the latest in a trend of beautifully weird interactive websites accompanying album releases. Ty Segall’s Manipulator video, for example, let viewers play with a trillion image combinations. Some designers complain that the Internet has killed album art, but videos like these suggest music’s visual accompaniment isn’t dead at all, but evolving into something far stranger and more complex.