Music: Down There by Avey Tare * * * *
Dave Portner -- aka Avey Tare -- is one of the foursome that makes up Animal Collective.
The band earned deserved acclaim for last year's Merriweather Post Pavilion album, but Portner's solo debut is cut from a very different cloth.
Gone are the experiments in euphoric electro-indie; in comes a dark, introspective and highly melancholic album that takes time to engage the listener.
Portner has drawn from a troubled personal life -- especially the demise of his marriage to Kristin Anna Valtysdottir, a former member of Icelandic band Mum -- and the subdued electronica and organic instrumentation reflect that.
In places, the experience is almost unlistenably bleak, especially when one considers Heather in the Hospital, a moving ode to a sister coping with the ravages of cancer, and there is an uncomfortable voyeurism on Ghost of Books, in which he appears to be reflecting on a battle to preserve his sanity.
There are a handful of lighter moments that remind us of the giddy eclecticism of his day job. But, for the most part, Down There takes the listener into a darker place.
Burn it: Heather in the Hospital; Cemeteries