Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Avalanches

A Yellow Submarine-style psychedelic video for The Avalanches' song Subway.  Don't try too hard to follow along or make sense of it, just get on board for the trippy ride.

For the uninitiated, Australia's The Avalanches compose their songs entirely from samples of other music ("plunderphonics").  It's harder than it sounds, and to give you an idea of what they're doing, listen to the two primary sources of samples on Subway.  The first is a 1980 song called Subways by Chandra, an adolescent post-punk band fronted by 12-year-old Chandra Oppenheim.  Chandra's debut EP, Transportation, featured paranoid undertones, large doses of Farfisa organ, and occasional melodica solos, and remains to this day a brilliant artifact of the early-80’s New York club scene.

The Avalanches chose to back Chandra's vocals with samples from English pop rocker Graham Bonnet's Warm Ride.  The Bee Gees originally penned Warm Ride in 1978 for the movie Saturday Night Fever, but it got cut and recorded instead by Bonnet, who was a bigger success in Australia than anywhere else in the world.

There's a bunch of other stuff thrown in there too, including the "Na-na-na-nas" heard at the 1:32 mark, which is from The Bar-Kays' 1971 Sang and Dance, and the "Hey, yo, girls!" heard at the 2:19 mark from 2009's Born 2 B Fly by The Fly Girlz, another teen-girl band from New York.

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