The Avalanches: Run DNA / Frontier Psychiatrist / Thank You Caroline
The Avalanches -- Run DNA
The Avalanches -- Thank You Caroline [Andy Votel remix]
The Avalanches -- Frontier Psychiatrist
The Avalanches are an Australian turntablism group that everyone seems to want to call quirky. For lack of a better word, I'll call them quirky too. It's not a bad thing, though; I consider them deliciously off-kilter, in much the same way as many of the Miyazaki films: quirky/endearing/intriguing, not quirky/creepy/alarming. Their work varies a bit depending on the outing (I guess it's to be expected with anywhere between two and ten people in the group); some of it is simple, repetitive dance music, good for background noise while you're working on some task; other tracks are more aggressive and catchy, forcing you to pay attention. What's on offer today is a range.
"Run DNA" is dance/hip hop/turntablism with a rocking electronic organ riff; it's a bit of lightweight fun with some silly lyrics. "Stylus in my jeans? It's in my backpack."
"Thank You Caroline" is more in the background/chillout grouping; it's a fine track to listen to while organizing LPs or, I don't know, writing an overdue post for an mp3blog. This is the Andy Votel Remix, and I don't think I've heard the original so I have no grounds for comparison. What I like about this one, though, is the chimes with distorted synth, the bassline, the stringed instrument (is that a cello? I can't place it, but I like it), the way the song seems to sprawl out in impossible positions like a sonic cat.
"Frontier Psychiatrist" is pretty far afield in their work, perhaps the wildest and best thing they've recorded. Great things about this song:
The Dexter's Lab Polyester samples ("it is the opinion of the entire staff that Dexter is criminally insane" / "He was white as a sheet / And he also made false teeth");*
the drumbeat (grooved like a cart-road from the 16th century);
the oohs and ahhs (ghostly oohs and ahhs, I learn from watching the video);
"I promised my girlfriend I'd pick up the violin";
"sometimes a parrot talks";
and then the parrot talks.
I'm curious, though, why it's just a random scream in it and not a Wilhelm scream (see also: this radio program). This scream is pitched too low for it, and with their love of kitsch, pop culture, and whimsy, I find it hard to believe The Avalanches didn't know about Wilhelm and consider dropping him in.
9x: Does anybody in the band ski or has anyone been in an avalanche?
Other pressing questions answered here.
"Frontier Psychiatrist" video
Avalanches' official site
[Amazon.com]: At Last Alone [IMPORT]
[Amazon.com]: Since I Left You
[Amazon.com] El Producto seems to have gone out of print.
Yes, I'm still with this running mix that started with Big Bill Broonzy, a jog I was ill-prepared for, and dreams of trains. I'm about to start walking, though, and we'll soon be home. And then I'll post these other things I've found lately.
* Thanks to the anonymous poster for setting me straight on the source for the "criminally insane" quotations.