The last time I was lost in the Enchanted Forest, stomping through the snarls of black branches, snapping sticks and rustling the leaves, I came across a bent hag. She whispered a few words, scattered some herbs to the wind, and shrunk my hands into little one-inch nubs at the end of my full-grown arms. Helpless, and with nightfall hastily approaching, I stumbled across a campfire that had been built by the friendly furry creatures of the Animal Collective.
I could hear noises coming through the trees as I approached: They were making feral cries in the darkness, beginning "Native Belle" and startling me for just a second. After a full day of jamborees and playing Indian in the woods, Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist and Deaken were dancing like children around the crackling fire among the pines. Their voices were twisted electronically to the point that they were hardly distinguishable, swirling around as though just loosed from the Ark. I felt feeble in my attempt to join in, my hands cursed as they were, but the Animal Collective made me comfortable in my new body, showing me that even with such undersized tools-- and scarcely more than drums, voices, effect-laden guitars and keyboards-- infinite sounds were possible.
The moves were simple, really: I could still whoop like an injun, flapping my nubs over my mouth to bawl rhythmically. Holding my hands up into my ears, all the sounds flickered like primitive wah-wah pedals along a cave wall. Even with these hands, I could still clap, and did so right in the middle of the Gibby-tronic slurs and screams of "Hey Light". The wolf-howled bursts quieted into snapping pattycakes and chanted rounds around the dying embers. These communal murmurs were far removed from their first spastic sounds. Panda Bear showed that by tightening my hands into balled fists, my very arms could become drumsticks, conveying endless energy, every surface a percussive experiment. Even as I tap out this recollection, they clack against the keys rhythmically, moving with the rounds of distorted campfire singing; not as a regular beat, but as something stumbled upon and followed into the wild.