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Panda Bear’s Person Pitch is built upon a crucial mass of samples and influences, rendered like the mix of music banging around in Noah Lennox’s head in album form. Not only did Lennox thank an insane amount of artists in the liner notes, he also sampled a bunch of artists too. So, in order to understand Person Pitch’s robust sample material and how it was recontextualized into something new, here’s a list of the songs from Person Pitch, paired with the songs they sample.
A calm, chill album about trying to ease your way into adulthood actually opens with a soundtrack cut from a war movie. “Comfy in Nautica” is built on Hans Zimmer’s “Jisas Yu Holem Hand Blong Mi,” a song from the Thin Red Line soundtrack. It’s chopped up in a way that it’s hard to 100% hear the original in the Panda Bear song; it’s not recognizable as the song in the movie’s trailer.
“Take Pills” leans heavily on the percussion from Scott Walker’s “Always Coming Back to You,” a dignified ballad from Walker’s 1967 album, Scott. That kicks in around the songs :36 second mark. When the beat switches about halfway through the song (around the 2:30 mark), the beat is handed over to the Tornados’ “The Popeye Twist,” one of the many singles that came out after Chubby Checker’s "The Twist" blew up.
Lennox clearly rides for the Tornados, as he samples them again here. “Red Roses and a Sky of Blue” serves as the veritable backbone of “Bros,” the enormous single from this album. But that’s not the only sample that makes it into the song’s stew: the thrusting guitar strums that provide increased heft to the song at the halfway mark come from Cat Stevens’ “I’ve Found a Love” and the vocals droning in the background come from the Equals’ “Rub A Dub Dub.”
This is one of the harder to find sample sources on all of Person Pitch. “I’m Not” opens with a sample of Gothic Voices’ cover of “Rose, Liz, Printemps, Verdure,” which has been virtually erased off the internet. A different singer singing it is below; little did you know that an opera song would be sampled so heavily on this, a seminal indie rock album.
The longest song on Person Pitch also has its longest sample sequences. The drums at the opening of the song through the ⅔ point of the song are taken from “Radio Calcutta #2,” off a comp by the Sublime Frequencies Records comp. In its last third, it switches up to include a sample of Kraftwerk’s “Ananas Symphonie.” It also features a sample of a sound effect from Lee “Scratch” Perry’s “Enter the Dragon.”
Lennox down-pitches the Goddess Enya for a sample of her “Na Laetha Geal M'òige,” which provides “Search for Delicious” with its haunted, floating core. The song’s other sample, “Beserker,” is a nod to Lennox’s Jane side project with Scott Mou.
The final song on Person Pitch, “Ponytail,” isn’t made from any noticeable samples, but given how deep into the crates Lennox dives for the other six songs, he can be excused for not busting out some deep, dusty cut for this one.
Andrew Winistorfer is Senior Director of Music and Editorial at Vinyl Me, Please, and a writer and editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need in Your Collection and The Best Record Stores in the United States. He’s written Listening Notes for more than 30 VMP releases, co-produced multiple VMP Anthologies, and executive produced the VMP Anthologies The Story of Vanguard, The Story of Willie Nelson, Miles Davis: The Electric Years and The Story of Waylon Jennings. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.