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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Avalanches
Since I Left You
London/Sire

Rating: 9/10 ?


October 1, 2004
A few years ago, when Sean Combs was rocketing toward super stardom, I remember the debate over sampling heating up like a pressure cooker. Back in the day, when hip-hop and sampling were merely a low-budget orchestration for the underbelly of the music world, no one seemed to notice. That all changed when overnight sensations like Vanilla Ice began pulling in major bank notes from tracks which contained samples of previously released (and, more importantly, copywrited) material. With the drop of a dollar bill sampling went from flattery to thievery in the music community, and the nets began to drop into the sea of sample-based music, fishing for royalties.

That the Avalanches' album was ever released is truly amazing, considering the content, but that five guys could keep everything referenced straight is a feat in itself. Apparently, Since I Left You is built, from the ground up, entirely of recycled and found sounds. From the queen of pop to random television, film and radio blurbs, bleeps and bloops, the 18 tracks here are 100% post-creator content. Madonna's "Holiday" (which has gotten the most attention, being the first licensed Madonna sample ever) provides the bass line for "Stay Another Season", arguably the album's most prolific track.

Similar in a way to the merry pranksters of Negativland, Avalanches create mosaics of fractured sound that quickly compel the listener to lighten up, have a drink and move a little, or a lot. "Electricity" alone, buried in the middle of the album, could rattle out of 1975 Fischer XP-66 speakers or the Harman/Kardons attached to a Sony Vaio with the same infectiousness. Like the best parts of The Dust Brothers, Moby and Wu-Tang Clan rolled up and soaked in a martini, Since I Left You puts the fun back into music like few albums before it have, and undoubtedly like few after it will be able to repeat. This is easily one of the best dance albums I've ever heard, and the fact that it is completely sample based makes it that much more astonishing. Anyone who has trouble believing in the power of sampling should check out the mind-bendingly complete "Frontier Psychiatrist" - featuring horses, gunshots, movie audio, weather reports, chamber music, operatic voices and random drum beats. Crazy.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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