10 years ago, the sound of the new millenium was set by two guys from Melbourne.
Robbie Chater and Darren Seltmann (aka The Avalanches) recycled 50 years of (mainly obscure) pop snippets into 18 fresh-as-a-daisy tunes. With ‘Since I Left You’ they changed the face of music.
In 2001 sampling hadn’t jumped the shark and the term “genre splicing” was not yet a cliché. The way they took a blowtorch to the archive was revolutionary.
More importantly, ‘Since I Left You’ is full of great songs that still stand up today. Their main talent was distilling the humour and warmth from these old tracks to create something entirely new and which resonanted emotionally. I mean, go back and listen to all the stuff that going on a track like ‘Frontier Scientist’. It’s still kind of mind-blowing.
They had the ability to use the samples as opposed to being used by the samples. As Robbie told Pitchfork shortly after the album was released: “We learned the hard way, but when you start sampling without a clear goal, the samples end up dictating what the songs sound like.”
A good example of that is ‘Close To You’. Despite sampling the well-known likes of The Isley Brothers, Nancy Wilson, Sylvester and Kid Creole and the Coconuts’s ‘Stool Pigeon’, it has an atmosphere that’s all its own. Specifically, it created the vibe of walking through various rooms at a club in quick succession at 1 am, better than any other song I can think of.
Later this year Modular records are set to give the album a much-needed re-issue. A deluxe edition is planned featuring remixes from (amongst others) MF Doom, Black Dice and Stereolab. Frankly, we can’t wait.