(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Since I Left You (2000) , 7/10
Wildflower (2016), 6/10

Australian ensemble Avalanches (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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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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