"Since I Left You"
Record label: Elektra
Release date: summer 2002
Australia's Avalanches - oh, what a rhythmic web they weave. Their album has brought the art of audio cut-and-paste to dizzying new heights, supposedly using somewhere around 900 samples to comprise the tunes. (About a fifth of them could've been used for "Frontier Psychiatrist" alone.) "Since I Left You," the album's title track, is currently being worked as a single stateside (yes, boys and girls, a domestic version of the full-length finally arrives around Halloween or so). The album version features a upbeat Latin melody as well as swiped vocals of a female singing, "since I left you…I found a world so new…" The optimistic orchestral movements of the song suggest that this is no painful breakup, but a new beginning. It's hard not to smile when this one's coming through the speakers.
When the album version's this good, you had better come up with some killer remixes. Luckily, the trio of revisions presented on this single do the original justice. Prince Paul's take is perhaps the most contemporary R&B-sounding track he's done in a while, topped with baby girl vocals from Kelli Sae and a quick rhyme from Breezly Brewin of the Juggaknots (remember Tariq, the lead character from A Prince Among Thieves?). Smoothed out with a boomin' system bounce, it'll throw lots of people off. Who knew that Paul could play it straight and not be tongue-in-cheek about it? Meanwhile, Stereolab's remix is entertaining, as always. It begins with an enhancement of the original's Latin flavor, then takes off for surf rock territory circa Beach Blanket Bingo. Cornelius' remix completes the trilogy, and once again, Keigo Oyamada delivers pure electronic pop genius. Danceable and quirky without a hint of cheese or pretension, it's not quite house, but it's around that bpm range. This mix is what we've come to expect from Cornelius: hard to describe, but you know it's him when you hear it. This single is hot, and a great way to familiarize a larger audience with this group. Beg, borrow, and steal.