Since I Left You
n a world of mindless dance music and soul-less pop, the Avalanches strive to be innovators, a worthy cause, but one which is wholly unmet by their disappointing first album. The Avalanches make their music as many DJ groups before them have, by stealing bits and pieces from other songs and pasting them together in different, and hopefully new combinations of sound. The record’s overall tone is somewhat admirable, at it’s most general, Since I Left You is one piece, consisting of eighteen separate parts; a constantly changing system of musical themes and adventures. The individual pieces have enough of a flow to make the album interesting, but are pretty dull on their own.
Many of the tracks show promise; they just don’t offer us much in the way of innovation. Despite their lack of nuance and primarily straightforward rhythmic groove, several tracks are actually quite good. "Summer Crane" glides by lazily, as strangled strings make their presence barely known throughout. "Flight Tonight" works on the exact opposite principle, managing to be quite abrasive without sounding the least bit harsh, and overall succeeding in the area of sound collage.
In its quest to document the past and expand to the future, the album ends up dwelling on the minutiae of samples, its own concept suffocating itself. Samples are reused over the duration of the album, but instead of creating some sort of idée fixee through stark repetition, (not necessarily the intended effect); they wind up becoming a syrupy mess of lifeless gunk. The beats here have all been heard before, and are expanded on very little. It is a wonder that the Avalanches manage to get so much out of such a time-tried practice, and utilizing no new techniques. Overall, I would have to recommend this album more strongly for the novice music listener, as there is enough progression throughout the piece for it to get its point across while still being accessible.
Reviewed by: Tyler Martin
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01