[Music] Since I Left You – The Avalanches


SILUAlbum: Since I Left You

Artist: The Avalanches

Released: November 27, 2000

Rating: 8.6/10

The line between plagiarism and homage is an oddly blurred one in art. What constitutes theft and what inspiration? It is a distinction that The Avalanche debut and, to date, only album Since I Left You dismisses by taking the art of sampling to its logical extreme. Not a note in the album is ‘original’; borrowing from over 3500 other pieces, Since I Left You, depending on your point of view, is either an abomination, a series of cheap parlour tricks, or an honest, original work of art every bit as worthy as the pieces it is cobbled together from. These views are surprisingly not mutually exclusive – it is possible to think of the project as an unnatural musical bastard redeemed only by its aesthetic brilliance or to support the concept behind the album’s creation while not particularly appreciating the album’s musical qualities. Regardless of where you stand, the sheer creativity and resourcefulness the album showcases is indubitably impressive.

The sampling technique allows The Avalanches to marry sounds that have no right meeting each other and as a result, create this wonderfully complex orchestration of sounds. Each track has an incredibly rich sound, with a mixture of jazz, soul, hip-hop and classical with the occasional drop of simple vocals. This diversity gives Since I Left You, as an album, tremendous range. Tracks like the quiet, otherworldly ‘ETOH’ and the manic ‘Flight Tonight’ share almost nothing in common but are unmistakably part of the same album. There is a little of something for everyone; ‘Two Hearts In 3/4 Time’ for the whimsical romantics, ‘A Different Feeling’ for the more energetic and ‘Summer Crane’ for the truly contemplative. The album’s crown jewel however, is the insane surrealism of ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ mad cacophony of seemingly unrelated sounds somehow forced into coherence by the artists’ ear for rhythm.

A sense of escapism pervades the entire album; right from the album’s beginning, each subsequent track drags you further and further away from reality. The album carries with it memories of carefree summers and idyllic days spent by slow streams and even when its tracks do get a little heavier that sense of airy weightlessness is never lost. It has been suggested by others that the album can be considered pop culture essentially cannibalizing itself and there have been countless discussions on the album’s ‘real’ genre and its validity as an original piece of music. Regardless of where you stand on those issues, one thing is for certain: letting your stance keep you away from the album would only serve to deny yourself a masterpiece.

Standout Tracks:

A Different Feeling

Frontier Psychiatrist

ETOH

Live At Dominoes

Track Title Rating
Since I Left You 3.5
Stay Another Season 2.5
Radio 3.0
Two Hearts In 3/4 Time 3.0
Avalanche Rock 3.5
Flight Tonight 4.0
Close To You 4.0
Diners Only 4.0
A Different Feeling 5.0
Electricity 4.5
Tonight May Have To Last Me All My Life 3.5
Pablo’s Cruise 3.5
Frontier Psychiatrist 5.0
ETOH 5.0
Summer Crane 4.5
Little Journey 4.0
Live At Dominoes 5.0
Extra Kings 4.5

Other Reviews:

Pitchfork

Sputnik

The Guardian

NME

All Music

Wikipedia

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