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Animal Collective: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Every time I've witnessed Animal Collective in concert the band has been bathed in colored light, with shapes and patterns floating above the members' heads, often mirroring the unpredictable and mesmerizing journey that defines its music. Yet here, the band is brightly lit for its Tiny Desk (home) concert — which it filmed at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), playing new songs from its 11th studio album Time Skiffs — and the band's musical journey remains transfixing.

The four members known by their monikers Deakin, Panda Bear, Avey Tare and Geologist are joined by a silent "time skiff rider," dressed mysteriously in a hooded robe, who cuts paper shapes at a tiny desk as the band's music unfolds.

The set begins as Animal Collective's new album opens, with "Dragon Slayer" morphing into "Car Keys." The abstract words ping back and forth between Deakin, Panda Bear and Avey Tare, resembling a secret code to which only they hold the key: "I saw a red kite fly / Was it held by an anchor? / I saw a red kite burn / I saw a string gone astray."

The final track "Kings Walk" is for those truly dedicated to the collective. It's an unreleased, vocal-heavy song that Animal Collective has been performing since 2019. With lyrics as abstract as Mary Lum's Assembly (Lorem Ipsum), the artwork filling the MASS MoCA walls behind the band, the music feels challenging, not always welcoming. It's a path in music that perhaps you've never taken, but may want to take again once you do.


  • "Dragon Slayer" 
  • "Car Keys"
  • "Kings Walk"


  • Avey Tare: bass, vocals
  • Panda Bear: drums, vocals
  • Geologist: electronics, hurdy-gurdy
  • Deakin: keys, vocals


  • Directed by Tony Giambrone
  • Director of Photography: Ben Townsend
  • Filmed by Sophie Schieli, Will Kempner, Ben Townsend and Tony Giambrone
  • Edited by Tony Giambrone
  • Color Correction by Ben Townsend
  • Recorded & Mixed by Alex Finlay V
  • Recording Assisted by Chris Freeman
  • Artwork featured in the video: Mary Lum, Assembly (Lorem Ipsum) 2017 commissioned by MASS MoCA
  • Special thanks to Mark Hubatsek
  • Filmed at MASS MoCA, North Adams, Mass.


  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Video Producer: Michael Zamora
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Tiny Production Team: Bobby Carter, Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.