After a nearly indeterminate hibernation, Australian trip-hop band The Avalanches have announced a new tour and possibly a new album.
After 2001’s “Since I Left You” propelled the group to international stardom, the band’s legal issues prevented the release of a follow-up.
The Avalanches have mastered the art of sampling, known for advancing the genre of plunderphonics.
Much like the work of DJ Shadow or Ras G, plunderphonics seek to build full-length pieces exclusively from sampled material, such as movies, commercials, and other songs. “Since I Left You” is a tantamount example, with over 3,500 samples.
The hurdle presented here is clearing the rights to use the material of so many other artists and production companies.
While proponents of sample-based music, from hip hop artists to turntablists, find this collage of sounds as a legitimate form of art, usage rights come into question.
This is why their sophomoric effort has been so far gone from when they first began working on it.
Expecting a three-year gap between the latest album and when “Since I Left You” was released, the album is still currently being tweaked in the studio, and it has become a joke amongst fans that the album will never be released.
However, the band posted only a week ago on their Facebook page three new tour destinations, hoping to reinvigorate fan interest with appearances in major festivals in Spain, The United Kingdom and Australia.
No news has been released yet of how the new album is fairing, but fans have been clamoring with newfound hope that the release will come soon. Akin to Guns N’ Roses’ “Chinese Democracy” or Burzum’s “Belus,” The Avalanches’ second release has seen its stay in “development hell.”
Guns N’ Roses saw a 14-year delay after all of the band’s original members except vocalist-pianist Axl Rose departed. Rose had to hire session musicians to carry out his ideas during a period that took over a decade.
Likewise, Varg Vikernes of Burzum did not have access to live instruments for 21 years while serving a prison sentence for arson and manslaughter.
In the case of The Avalanches, intellectual property rights plague any sample-based music.
Recently, Kendrick Lamar was sued for using music by Bill Withers on his 2009 song “I Do This.”
This problem exists hyperbolically for a group repeating this action literally thousands of times in constructing a record.
Unfortunately, a release so long due sets a type of legendary status around the album under production, as seen with “Chinese Democracy” and “Belus” as fans begin to wonder what sound could have possibly have taken so long to make in the studio.
This presents an issue in the image of an artist a fan may conceive as opposed to what will actually be presented on an album.
For now, fans can see limited performances from The Avalanches, but this second album will remain a mystery.
Jeffrey Holmes is a fourth-year student majoring in philosophy. Contact them at JH791223@wcupa.edu.
Eric Ryan is a second-year student majoring in English. Contact him at ER821804@wcupa.edu.