How do I compress the history of The Avalanches, one of Australia’s greatest electronic music groups, into a simple and concise Spotlight article? It took some thinking, but I think I’ve done it.
Starting as a punk band in Melbourne in 1997, before transitioning into electronic music via keyboardist Robbie Chater’s access to computer software, the band released three EPs, El Producto, Undersea Community, and Electricity before releasing what is considered one of the best electronic albums of all time, Since I Left You in 2000.
Built with over 900 samples from films, radio comedy sketches and various $1 record purchases, Since I Left You produced hits such as ‘Since I Left You’ and ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’. The album can be listened to in one fluid sitting, with every song a beautiful pastiche of ideas and references.
The band then seemed to go into a hiatus, often performing DJ sets, the majority of which have been carefully collected by the /r/avalanches community. Fans ended up having to wait 16 YEARS for a follow up album, Wildflower in 2016, which had taken over 10 years to produce, and contained the hits ‘Frankie Sinatra’, ‘Because I’m Me’ and ‘Subways’. This album featured a number of guest stars, including Danny Brown, Camp Lo, and Kevin Parker (better known as Tame Impala) and had a more hip-hop sound than their first, with big beats and brash samples.
Fortunately, fans didn’t have to wait that long for another album, with We Will Always Love You being released in late 2020. This album also features a number of guest stars, including Blood Orange, including Blood Orange, Jamie XX, MGMT and Denzel Curry, among others. Written to be a representation of death, the afterlife and the universe, the album has an ethereal quality to every track, while still maintaining that signature Avalanches groove.
The Avalanches will be playing their hit debut album, Since I Left You, live with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as a part of the Illuminate Festival on the 30th of July. Tickets are available from Ticketek.