According to the credits on their debut album, “Since I Left You,” The Avalanches are six young men, only two of whom play instruments (guitar and piano/percussion). The rest are listed as “mixers,” which makes sense when you consider that the record contains no less than 900 samples. Surprisingly, no attorney is listed.
Most of the samples are found sounds: instructional records, obscure BGM. This is not a new idea. DJ Shadow has been shaping aural effluvia into compelling music for a while now. Cheeky Aussies that they are, The Avalanches also throw in recognizable stuff. “Flight Tonight” is built around a Prince Paul-De La Soul lyric, and the bass line from Madonna’s “Holiday” features prominently in “Stay Another Season.” (The Avalanches earn hip P.R. points for being the first recording artists to receive Ms. Ciccone’s permission to sample her work.)
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