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The Avalanches

Author: Ben Shepherd
Sunday, 1 January 1995
Local prodigal sons, The Avalanches are enjoying a quick rise to the top. Despite what some have said about their "influences", Bert, Re-Run, Gordon, Juicy Fruit and DJ Dexta have stayed true to the cause, kept it real, and continued to blow many away, either through the head rush that is their debut ep, El Producto, the minmal treble kicking rawness of their 7' Rock City, or simply the real McCoy, the Avalanche of sounds, ideas, and energy that is the live show. I don't know anything about music, but what I do know is El Producto rocks, and the Avalanches make groups like the Brown Hornet(what a stupid name, what a stupid world we live in) look like the retarded, talentless, bland and boring party band that they are. But how does this happen- How does a band become successful- How do four like minded indiciduals make such harmonious music- How does the music develop- Why am I single- Why are there wars- What exactly is going on down at the docks- Why doesn't the student union give us some local innovative live acts- Why does the union open all OTICO mail before it gets to the person its addressed to- Where do our student fees go- How come meals are so expensive at the Gryph- Why are all the computers at uni so damn slow- Are their cockroaches in Good Dragon- How come those chicks from the Banking and Finance department are always having ciggarettes and not processing important academic information- How come ball games are now allowed on the common- Where is the new Beastie Boys record- Why Daniel Johns went out with Adallita from Magic Dirt when he is 18 and she is 26- Well not all of these questions could be answered, but Darren Seltmann, lead creative mind in the Avalanches tried. Which is all we can ask.

Success is taking its toll-"We are just wanting to take a little time off, to rewrite the set, and write new songs. We were just starting to, the whole thing(the initial reaction to a good new live band) was just a first attempt at trying to write the samples, so we are really keen to do new stuff."

Sampling-"I think we go through phases of different kinds of samples and now we have kind of moved into this thing were we are kind of sampling ourselves, like we all carry around little tape recorders and tape ourselves playing organs, or going to a music store and trying every synthesizer and then sampling it!"

Scratching-"We just get these old violin records - You know, we're the shittest scratchers in the world so we don't try to scratch, if you scratch a violin records you get this really disjointed wavering tone from the violin, and there's no way anyone could pick where that came from. So we are trying to steer away from anything that's at all recognisable, or has a groove like a four bar fill, we're just trying to avoid anything derivative and all that now."

Are drums electric-"Yes. No we dont really use much live drumming. It was all pretty much loops and drum machines, on the 7" there is, Thankyou Caroline is just straight drums, and Rock City has pretty much got chorus drums live. We've all got S900's (samplers) because they are really cheap, around $500. Its good because we can all swap disks and the sampling quality is OK and thats about everything we've ever recorded has been through a S900. The problem at first was loading the disks for every song live, I don't know if people saw that happening but we've had to stop for about 30 seconds in between songs and load each song up independetly because the sample memory was so small. (I remember a gig at The Tote in which the 'lanches lost valuable time with their sample loading, which took away from the energy and momentum they were building with each song.)We just has a need to have a pretty continuous set, so we got a S2000 sampler.(far superior)."

Keepin' It Real"You sample stuff that sits together, and then you lay it down and maybe even put vocals over the

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