Aussie band The Avalanches make long-awaited comeback

The Avalanches Australian electronic band.
The Avalanches Australian electronic band.

It has been called Australia's Chinese Democracy - but now the long-awaited second album from the mysterious electronic music machine The Avalanches is about to land.

Guns N' Roses finally produced their Chinese Democracy album after 14 years and now the 16-year wait for new music from The Avalanches is finally over.

They have confirmed they will release their second record Wildflower on July 8, ahead of a performance at the Splendour In The Grass festival in Byron Bay.

Only three members - Robbie Chater, Tony Di Blasi and James Dela Cruz - remain from the cut-and-paste pop line-up which released their acclaimed debut record Since I Left You in 2000.

"What kept us going during the making this record was a belief in the day-to-day experience of music as a life force - as life energy," Chater said.

"Hearing a certain song on a certain morning can change your day; it can make the world
look different, changing the way you perceive light refracting through the atmosphere for the rest of the afternoon.

"Literally changing the colour, feeling and tone of your world."

Yep, The Avalanches are still at one with the universe after all these years.

So why does anyone care about the second record from these relatively anonymous and secretive musicians - Australia's daft Punk without the helmets - after 16 long years?

After all, Since I Left You enjoyed moderate rather than phenomenal success on the charts, reaching a peak of No. 8 in the UK, No. 21 on the ARIA charts and No. 10 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic charts.

It was the mythology surrounding the making of the record and the collective's live party vibe which helped fuel the hype which has made their new music one of the most anticipated releases of the past decade.

Since I Left You would influence the evolution of electronic and dance music throughout the 2000s because of its sound and execution.

The Avalanches used a staggering 3500 samples from old records most people had never heard of and some so recognisable their original artists refused to give them permission to use them.

And some of the big names who did requested such a large fee for use of the samples that it has been music industry speculation for many years the Avalanches had to pay 110 per cent of their royalties to other artists.

They were famously the first band Madonna said yes to, with Her Madgesty allowing them to sample Holiday.

After 16 years of false starts and teasers, The Avalanches started giving hope to patient fans in recent weeks with a video trailer and a looped lo-fi snatch of another new song which people listened to on hotlines in Australia, the UK and America.

The band was referred to as Brainz within their label, who would not confirm they were even signed to their roster, in the weeks leading up to the revelation of new music.

The official new single Frankie Sinatra, which premiered worldwide today, contains a snippet from Rodgers and Hammerstein, who did not give permission for them to use a sample on Since I Left You.

It also features vocals by American rapper Danny Brown and British hip hop artist MF Doom.

Double J announcer Myf Warhurst said The Avalanches remain intriguing to music fans and the wider industry.

"Since I Left You was such an extraordinary and rare musical moment. At the time it was released, it intrigued everyone," she said.

"People that were usually only into hip hop or dance, or indie rock, embraced this record. It connected previously disparate musical worlds and became the soundtrack to every party. And it was so darn clever, we're all still wondering how on earth they made it."

Project U editor and NightHigh records founder Nic Kelly believes a younger generation will also be keen to explore the new record because of the success of other Australian electronic artists including Flume.

He said he discovered them courtesy of local rapper Remi performing one of their songs for Triple J's weekly segment Like A Version.

"Their stuff didn't perform particularly well on the charts but they developed a cult following which remains today," he said.

"People are fascinated by them because they have kept that air of mystery and because it feels like they have this unfinished story to tell."

Superfan John Bush, who has endured all the false alarms and teasers over the past decade hoping for new music from one of his favourite bands, attributed their power to the originality of their music which paved the way for other sample-based mash-ups.

It was occasionally referred to as plunderphonics.

"At the time they were doing something no one else was toying with and from the start of the album to its finish, you couldn't wait to hear the next song," he said.

"You got to the end of that record and you were an emotional wreck."

- news.com.au

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