Eighteen years ago, on the 27th of November, One of the most important works of music in my life was born: when “Since I Left You” was released.
It was the debut album for Melbourne-based band, The Avalanches, some few years after their original EP release ‘El Producto’ – However, this release was markedly different from that EP, as, it was not only way ahead of its time, amazingly & lovingly crafted together, and featured a very heavily sample-based approach (plunderphonics) to music production:
It was also an absolute labour of sonic passion, raw emotion, and demonstrated an endearing, definitive, and true spiritual connection towards music as a whole – no matter what the genre – proving that art is not limited by form, style, nor format and only requires a brain, a heart, and a soul to create something truly amazing.
Ever since the first release of this work, the album has received a multitude of extremely positive and critical acclaim, near perfect album reviews, was named as number 10 in the book ‘100 Best Australian albums’, and has become one of the foremost seminal musical works to come out of Melbourne, dare I say, Australia as a whole.
I can still remember way back when I first heard this album, I must have only been 10 or 11 and had been getting into some various electronic artists through the radio and other means – I was already a big fan of Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk (‘Homework’ had only come out a few years prior), the Chemical Brothers, and a couple of others – so I was already slightly obsessed with trying to discover how exactly those artists came up with the music they were making: and the answer was samplers.
Then, around late 2000 or mid 2001, probably through Video Hits or the Radio or News paper (cannot remember which one), I had heard/read about an album that was almost entirely sample based and composed and crafted up of thousands of different samples, turning them all into an unique, original piece of music. That concept was enough to trigger and pique my interest and ensure that hunting down a copy of this album (or even a source to listen to it in full) was my number one priority.
These were the days before shazaam, fast internet, music sharing services, or readily available album/EP purchases online – but luckily was just at the starting point of CD ripping and MP3 encoding – so I had headed to the local library with my Dad, borrowed a copy of the album out for a few days and ripped it to an MP3 copy so I could have a full, uninterrupted listen to it (I obviously did not have money to buy the CD album myself at the age of 10/11, although if I would have been able to, I would have – as I’m still trying to get a copy of the CD of it myself to this day).
The first time I listened to the album, the first track ‘Since I Left You’ hooked me in (and it still stuns me to this day with his sheer elegance but extreme beauty in sonics), and I kept on listening from start to finish and was enthralled, delighted, and so amazed.
Each tune had the most original and unique concept towards approaching how to compose a full length track and steered away from both the traditional band recording format (which I was used to from rock and pop), but also the electronic approach of synths/samplers/drum machines/etc and being completely synthesized out of nothing.
It was just something else entirely. It blew me away. Such a simple idea: using sampling technology to combine the old (samples, vinyl records, other media) with the new (samplers and track editing and composition using hardware and software).
Even now, in 2018, I listen back to the tracks and find the magic imbued and instilled in them. I am so immensely happy that I found this album in those early days – as now as a musician and producer myself, I can really appreciate what depth of musical knowledge, raw artistic passion, and love of expression all went into creating this album.
If I had to name a top 3 EP’s or Albums that influenced me to investigate, explore, and get started out in music production and the long path of becoming an artist, I would have to narrow it down to this one, Daft Punk’s – Homework, and Fatboy Slim’s – You’ve Come a Long Way Baby: each of these releases left a very heavy impact on my style and curiosity and interest in creating my own tunes, all from before the age of 12, and those are all still releases that I will defend tooth and nail, to the death, as to their huge importance in dance music and meaning to me, personally.
At a big guess or estimate, I think I’ve probably listened to ‘Since I Left You’ in its totality at least a total of 200 times, if not more, since it came out. It is my soundtrack to life and meaning in the universe. This album has driven me towards becoming a producer and a DJ, it has been the mental, emotional, and psychological soundtrack of when I’ve fallen in love, it has been the music I’ve listened to throughout heartbreak, the death of friends and family, it has helped to work towards fixing/improving my severe depression over the years (and has gotten me out of a lot of dark times), it has been the one source of constant euphoria and phonic passion in my entire life for the last 18 years now and pushed me to create, explore, experiment, live, laugh, love, and dream.
I really cannot properly do justice to how much this work has touched me and made such an impression on me, seriously.
I owe The Avalanches an unending, undeniable, and unfathomable amount of appreciation, respect, and gratitude for allowing me to have this music in my life. I don’t think I would be the same person that I am now if I never had heard it. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and soul and I can only say so much as to how much I admire you guys.
Thank you for the music, your dedication to art, and for making thousands of people so incredibly happy through the medium of sound.
I am so proud of my city and I am so glad I discovered this album.