Who doesn’t love to party? It’s a necessary part of being human to let loose once in awhile and stop taking the world seriously, if only for a moment. Just askKe$ha. But as much as we’d like to imagine that “the party don’t stop,” life really does move on, and sometimes the moments that stick with us best aren’t those when careening wildly across the dance floor, but quietly cleaning up afterwards. The Avalanches’ “Since I Left You” demonstrates the joy in spontaneity and sobriety, as the concept album of the party and the period of introspection that follows.
The first and only LP by the group of Australian DJs from over a decade ago, “Since I Left You” brilliantly mixes a collection of found sounds, old movies and pop culture debris to create an hour of celebration covering the full spectrum of human emotion.
The album begins on a note of discovery and optimism: “Since I’ve left you/I’ve found the world so new.” On“Electricity,” danceable grooves give way to an uplifting opera sample and the twinkle of retro synthesizers. The two-word chorus and cooing vocalizations mimic the endorphin rush you’re likely get from hearing this song. Their samples explore a diverse range of feelings, from buoyed expectancy (“Two Hearts in 3⁄4 Time”) to cathartic joy (“Electricity”) to mortal sadness (“Tonight May Have to Last Me All My Life”).
Along the way the Avalanches never forget to have fun. “Frontier Psychiatrist” combines 41 different spoken word snippets to form a weirdly hilarious dialogue. In the same track a rearing stallion is turned into a baseline and a parrot squawk (two squawks, mind you) is remixed for an incredible 20 seconds.
The final track, “Extra Kings,” returns to the beginning rhythm with the warmth of cracked vinyl and the nostalgic swoon of a string quartet. Bu tit’s not over quite yet. The same chipmunk voice rings through the atmosphere, reversing the title sentiment: “Tried but I just can’t get you/ Ever since the day I left you.” In the subsequent ignition of flute and string orchestra, one won’t struggle to imagine themselves on the balcony of the Titanic, progressing through the fluid passage of humanity in a grand, encompassing circle.
How lovely it is to celebrate, to find ecstasy and misery and every shade in between. Records like “Since I Left You” strike a beautiful balance, and serve as reminders of how wonderful it is to be human.