18 Songs, 1 Hour

EDITORS’ NOTES

“It felt beautiful; it felt like something different,” keyboardist Tony Di Blasi tells Apple Music about The Avalanches’ 2000 debut album. Even at the time, they knew they’d made something special. “I felt like it was very unique for the time,” he says. "And we could tell by the reactions we were getting from other people—we played Darren [Cross] from Gerling the album and he said, ‘We may as well give up.’”

The Avalanches’ roots stretch back to the early-’90s punk scene, where Di Blasi was a member of the band Alarm 115 alongside keyboardist Robbie Chater and then-vocalist Darren Seltmann. By the time it disbanded, the pair had already started experimenting with sampling vintage records. In 1997, they recruited Di Blasi and keyboardist Gordon McQuilten to officially form The Avalanches. Those early days were characterized by complete freedom of expression. “You’d just get together and do stuff and it was not stressful,” Di Blasi says. “There was no expectation; it was freeing and extremely liberating. It changed our lives.” That freewheeling sense of adventure without consequence may explain why The Avalanches employed a rumoured 3500 individual samples on Since I Left You—a copyright approval nightmare. Had the band known these songs would go further than the Collingwood home studios in which they were constructed, they may have taken a more conservative approach.

As it stands, though, Since I Left You is a sonic rollercoaster that samples everything from Madonna’s “Holiday” (“Stay Another Season”) to forgotten ’60s R&B (The Main Attraction’s “Everyday” on the title track), farmyard animals, and Canadian comedy duo Wayne and Shuster (“Frontier Psychiatrist”). “Robbie had all these records that told a different story, and he got [DJ] Dexter [Fabay] to scratch them all in,” recalls Di Blasi of “Frontier Psychiatrist.” “He’d have a little phrase singled out and that would be scratched in, one at a time.”

More remarkable than the volume of samples is how seamlessly they lock together to make a coherent whole, despite their often disparate sources. Songs blend into one another, samples recur throughout, and there are so many perfect moments for dancing—witness the deep disco of “Radio,” the smooth ’70s funk of “A Different Feeling,” the jungle rhythms of “Close to You,” and the shuffling, pillowy soul of the title track, a hit its creator initially wanted buried deep in the record. “Robbie was really embarrassed—he thought it sounded like a shampoo commercial,” says Di Blasi. “We heard it and were like, ‘Oh my god, that’s amazing!’ He was like, ‘Maybe we can hide it at the back of the record,’ and we were like, ‘No way, man! It’s going to be the first song!’”

EDITORS’ NOTES

“It felt beautiful; it felt like something different,” keyboardist Tony Di Blasi tells Apple Music about The Avalanches’ 2000 debut album. Even at the time, they knew they’d made something special. “I felt like it was very unique for the time,” he says. "And we could tell by the reactions we were getting from other people—we played Darren [Cross] from Gerling the album and he said, ‘We may as well give up.’”

The Avalanches’ roots stretch back to the early-’90s punk scene, where Di Blasi was a member of the band Alarm 115 alongside keyboardist Robbie Chater and then-vocalist Darren Seltmann. By the time it disbanded, the pair had already started experimenting with sampling vintage records. In 1997, they recruited Di Blasi and keyboardist Gordon McQuilten to officially form The Avalanches. Those early days were characterized by complete freedom of expression. “You’d just get together and do stuff and it was not stressful,” Di Blasi says. “There was no expectation; it was freeing and extremely liberating. It changed our lives.” That freewheeling sense of adventure without consequence may explain why The Avalanches employed a rumoured 3500 individual samples on Since I Left You—a copyright approval nightmare. Had the band known these songs would go further than the Collingwood home studios in which they were constructed, they may have taken a more conservative approach.

As it stands, though, Since I Left You is a sonic rollercoaster that samples everything from Madonna’s “Holiday” (“Stay Another Season”) to forgotten ’60s R&B (The Main Attraction’s “Everyday” on the title track), farmyard animals, and Canadian comedy duo Wayne and Shuster (“Frontier Psychiatrist”). “Robbie had all these records that told a different story, and he got [DJ] Dexter [Fabay] to scratch them all in,” recalls Di Blasi of “Frontier Psychiatrist.” “He’d have a little phrase singled out and that would be scratched in, one at a time.”

More remarkable than the volume of samples is how seamlessly they lock together to make a coherent whole, despite their often disparate sources. Songs blend into one another, samples recur throughout, and there are so many perfect moments for dancing—witness the deep disco of “Radio,” the smooth ’70s funk of “A Different Feeling,” the jungle rhythms of “Close to You,” and the shuffling, pillowy soul of the title track, a hit its creator initially wanted buried deep in the record. “Robbie was really embarrassed—he thought it sounded like a shampoo commercial,” says Di Blasi. “We heard it and were like, ‘Oh my god, that’s amazing!’ He was like, ‘Maybe we can hide it at the back of the record,’ and we were like, ‘No way, man! It’s going to be the first song!’”

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