(Robbie Chater, Darrin Seltmann, Gordon McQuilten, Toni DiBlasi, Dexter Fabay, and later James De La Cruz)
coined a new genre, sample-based dance music, with their debut
single Rock City (1997) and the EPs
Undersea Community (1998) and
Frontier Psychiatrist (2000).
Since I Left You (Modular, 2000 - XL, 2001) perfected the technique
and turned it into a full-fledged art, crafting
eighteen complex clockwork mechanisms entirely built up from about 900
snippets of other people's music, without using a single musical instrument.
Instead of building a song around the sample of a previous song, the Avalanches
built songs by painstakingly juxtaposing and gluing together snippets of pre-existing music.
While collage artists have been experimenting with such techniques for
years, the Avalanches used them to produce "songs", pieces of music that
were catchy, infectious and danceable.
The results of their recombinant art
(particularly Frontier Psychiatrist, an epochal song, but also A Different Feeling and Radio)
were both hilarious and illuminating,
as if shedding new light on the values of an entire civilization by
deconstructing and decontextualizing its fundamental attributes.
After a hiatus of 16 years, the Avalanches returned with
Wildflower (2016), another fresco of elegant nostalgic plunderphonics,
notably the circus skit Frankie Sinatra, worthy of the
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.
We Will Always Love You (2020) was a collaboration with
Dev Hynes of Blood Orange.
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