It has been 16 years be­ween albums but The Avalanches learnt a lot in the in­terim, and that’s re­flected in their new re­lease, Wildflower

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - MIKEY CAHILL


H ow do I an­swer that hon­estly?” says Robbie Chater of The Avalanches.

The query is of course, what took so long be­tween the sam­pledelic Mel­bourne out­fit’s de­but al­bum Since I Left You (2000) and their fol­low-up

Wildflower, re­leased last week with max­i­mum fan­fare.

Chater wants us to know one thing. “Ba­si­cally we’re al­ways mak­ing mu­sic. Since I

Left You had such a stag­gered re­lease, it was pre-in­ter­net, we were still tour­ing that al­bum across the US in 2003, by the time we got back we were pretty worn out, noth­ing hap­pened for a while af­ter that,” he un­der­states. He sounds re­laxed, know­ing now he has prod­uct to turn to,

Wildflower, an al­bum he and fel­low core mem­ber Tony Di Blasi can be proud of.

“We worked on a project for two years, that was sup­posed to be the sec­ond record, a psy­che­delic hip-hop record,” he says. “It was gonna be ac­com­pa­nied by a tra­di­tional hand-drawn, cel-an­i­mated film, like a hip-hop

Yel­low Sub­ma­rine. That was a tonne of work and sto­ry­board­ing and it was writ­ten and ready to go … then fund­ing fell through at the last minute,” Chater says.

“Noisy Eater was from those ses­sions. It was heart­break­ing. We’ll still fin­ish it even­tu­ally.”

Noisy Eater made the cut on Wildflower and it fea­tures Biz Markie and sam­ples of a satir­i­cal ad­ver­tis­ing voiceover spruik­ing “ethe­real ce­real”.

What else? “We made a whole bunch of stuff with Luke Steele from Sleepy Jack­son, singer-song­writer stuff, droney, full-on psy­che­delic stuff,” Chater re­flects. “We did other things along the way like mu­sic for (mu­si­cal) King Kong and that remix of Hunters and Col­lec­tor’s Talk­ing To a

Stranger,” Chater adds. As the pres­sure built to make a se­quel, the band turned to an un­likely heal­ing past-time: quilt-mak­ing. It was med­i­ta­tive.

“We wanted to have that link with Since I Left You’s cover, how it was hand­painted,” he laughs.

Wildflower’s cover is a quilt. “We ap­proached this as a rock ’n’ roll record more than a club record. We’re gonna have an ex­hi­bi­tion in Mel­bourne at some point of all the quilts,” he says.

“As an artist you try to get to a zone ev­ery day where your in­tel­lec­tual mind is turned off; it’s some­thing more in­tu­itive.

“We just feel like a con­duit. We’re not re­ally The Avalanches, The Avalanches is the mu­sic.” Avalanches play Splen­dour in the Grass, By­ron Bay, July 22.

The Avalanches are ap­pear­ing at Splen­dour in the Grass next week­end.

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