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The Avalanches: 2021

The Avalanches Tony Di Blasi and Robbie Chater (photo by Grant Spanier, PR)

The Avalanches Tony Di Blasi and Robbie Chater (photo by Grant Spanier, PR)

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Two decades ago, Melbourne's The Avalanches were among the kings of sample artistry when Robbie Chater, Tony Di Blasi and former member Darren Seltmann released their 2000 debut album, Since I Left You. That landmark album, often compared to DJ Shadow's Endtroducing and Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique for its audacious and ambitious sampling, was critically praised and became a touchstone for future producers, like The xx's Jamie xx. But due to touring, personal issues, perfectionism, and the sheer logistical hell of clearing samples, the Avalanches didn't release a second album until 2016, Wildflower.

Fortunately, the Australians' third album, We Will Always Love You, has followed a mere four years later, released in December of 2020. A rejuvenated Chater and Di Blasi connected with collaborators who influenced them — like Mick Jones of Big Audio Dynamite and the Clash, Neneh Cherry, and Tricky — as well as those who cite them as influences, like Jamie xx. The result is a sweet-sounding, thoughtful album about love, mortality, cosmic connections, and the universe. And while planned long before the pandemic, We Will Always Love You serves as their own Voyager Golden Record for these unsettled times.

In the player above, a conversation with Chater and Di Blasi about their eloquent new album, discussing their work with musicians like Leon Bridges and Perry Farrell, and explaining the love story between astronomer Carl Sagan and NASA creative director Ann Druyan that became a focal point of the album's development.

[Recorded: 1/21/21; Engineer: Jim O'Hara; Producer: Sarah Wardrop]