It hasn’t been 16 years since the last album from The Avalanches, but this pandemic, vague teasers and the constant single drops throughout the year created a ton of anticipation for We Will Always Love You. Like 2016’s Wildflower and their landmark Since I Left You, this latest record manages to transcend genres, yet distinctly remains The Avalanches. To get a grasp of the project’s diverse sound, one only needs to look at We Will Always Love You‘s star-studded feature list, which hosts indie darlings Johnny Marr, MGMT and Rivers Cuomo alongside alternative R&B figureheads Sampa the Great, Leon Bridges and Blood Orange.
We Will Always Love You succeeds because it pushes the sound forward while staying true to the roots of their music through sampling. Their latest live stream reflects this idea, held in their hometown of Melbourne, Australia, The Avalanches brought out a number of deep cuts that were sampled throughout their catalog, alongside several new tracks from We Will Always Love You. Beautifully filmed by a number of drones from the Curtin House Rooftop, this all-vinyl DJ set provided an excellent sneak peak at the group’s future performances.
Opening up slowly with “Ghost Story,” the group started off immediately with a number of ambient samples to help get the show going. By the time “Song for Barbara Peyton” came around, the group was going into some post-punk, adding some eclectic flair from Durutti Column’s “Otis.” More samples from the likes of The Found Sound Orchestra and Animal Collective’s Panda Bear soon followed, before a sweet heavenly drop descended upon the next Avalanches track, “The Divine Chord.”
By this point in the set list, the DJs had gone into full dance mode, bringing out Rare Earth’s “I Just Want to Celebrate” and the legendary Larry Levan remix of “Stand On The Word” by the Joubert Singers. Numerous other samples by the likes of Paradise and The Vision kept the funk going, leading up to another beautiful transition from “Diner’s Only.”
Throughout the video, the cameras transitioned from the two DJs, Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi, to a beautiful sunset, with a number of hot air balloons shown in the background. This type of direction allowed each new song to sound fresh, while showing off the beautiful downtown Melbourne skyline.
As the stream continued, it ventured into a bit more rave-like territory with some electro and techno influences added in. The Def Club Mix of Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover” and Galaxy 2 Galaxy’s “High Tech Cube” were played alongside the likes of Daphne and Oneohtrix Point Never throughout this section. This led to another unexpected drop as the funky “Music Makes Me High” came down at the perfect moment.
During the last part of the performance, The Avalanches went into their more experimental tendencies, blending avant jazz, ambient and soundtrack music throughout the end. The duo closed out with their songs “Interstellar Love” and “Gold Sky,” before the camera transitioned into the Jonathan Zawada directed short film Carrier Waves. The film’s opening was briefly shown on a screen, which had the captions #BlakLivesMatter (typo likely intentional) under it.
Carrier Waves is a psychedelic assortment of various footage alongside The Avalanches a number of We Will Always Love You samples such as “Ghost Story,” “Wherever You Go” and “Pink Champagne.” The opening captures the cosmos, fitting the space-inspired theme of the project, before transitioning to a number of dance videos. Some vintage clips from old-school raves were also shown, before going into more trippy, cosmic visuals. This assortment of cosmic fiction alongside vintage recording captures the psychedelic essence of The Avalanches, who have managed to still sound fresh after more than 20 years.
Song For Barbara Peyton
Otis – The Durutti Column
Another Sleepless Night – The Sound Orchestra
Comfy In Nautica – Panda Bear
The Divine Chord
I Just Want to Celebrate – Rare Earth
Stand on The Word (Larry Levan Remix) – The Joubert Singers
Keep The Fire – Paradise
Heaven – The Vision
Vibrations – Rodney Franklin
Sunday Morning – Moody Man
Dream Lover (Def Club Mix) – Mariah Carey
High Tech Cube – Galaxy 2 Galaxy
Light – Daphne
Auo Allo – Oneohtrix Point Never
Music Makes Me High
Mist O’ The Moon – Les Baxter
My Life – Stephen Schlacks
Hammond Song – The Roches