The ongoing rumours of the long-awaited follow up to one of the most beloved Australian albums of all time, The Avalanches – Since I Left You, has become legendary.
While many have given up hope of the sample maestros ever releasing another record beyond their seminal 2000 debut, others have clung to the year-on-year rumours, hoping to catch a glimpse of the now mythical beast. Fitting then, that a taste of new material from The Avalanches should arrive in tandem with another mythical creature.
After his original screen debut in 1933, the world’s most famous colossal gorilla, King Kong, is set to hit Australia next month, and the ambitious stage production is getting another media launch ahead of its opening in five weeks time, including an eight-track musical sample of King Kong‘s soundtrack, that includes The Avalanches new material
As previously reported, the Australian mash-up masters were among a star-studded list of musical collaborators working on the King Kong production, with a media launch nearly eight months ahead of its June 2013 release trumpeting the involvement of French electronic duo Justice, Robert del Naja of Massive Attack, Elbow’s barstool poet frontman Guy Garvey and Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan.
Now fans get to hear just how the giant gorilla has inspired its musical selection. Coming in at Track 6 on the sampler (which you can hear below), is The Avalanche’s ‘Get Happy’, using a key sample of a song of the same name by Harold Arlen and lyricist Ted Koehler, as well as recording of ‘Dies Irae’, the famous ‘Day of the Dead’ musical theme as interpreted by 19th Century Roman composer Giuseppe Verdi. Though criminally short – at 25 seconds – it’s epic stuff.
Helping bring The Avalanches out of retirement is English composer and producer Marius De Vries, who brought together the selection of artists for the King Kong production, drawing on his experience working on albums with Rufus Wainwright and David Gray, as well as with director Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet.
Other new music featured on the sampler includes ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’, composed by Justice and De Vries, ‘In The Face Of Forever’ – a co-write of music and lyrics between 3D from Massive Attack, Elbow’s Guy Garvey and Marius de Vries – and Sarah McLachlan’s contribution, ‘What’s It Gonna Take?’. Fitting then, that a taste of new material from The Avalanches should arrive in tandem with another mythical creature.
When the news of the King Kong soundtrack first broke, Carme Pavlovic, CEO of production company Global Creatures (the same Australian group who staged the arena-sized Walking With Dinosaurs) said “we had a vision for a score that would travel through genre and time in a way that’s contemporary and, I hope, redefining.”
“The entire production has been conceived on a grand scale, combining puppetry, circus, projections and an amazing orchestral score. Our ambition ultimately is to roll this production out around the world. But first, Australia!” remarked Pavlovic, who’s brother, Stephen Pavlovic of Modular, is a key consultant on the production.
While it’s music focus stretches to the international, King Kong will feature an all Australian cast including Richard Piper, Adam Lyon, Esther Hannaford, Queeny Van De Zandt, and Chris Ryan, and is touted as being the largest, most expensive, and most elaborate theatrical piece to debut down under in over a decade.
Hopefully the production will include more than the 25 second snippet offered up by The Avalanches, who despite their reclusive nature, have never seen the cultural currency earned from Since I Left You dissipate; recently charting in the top ten of both the industry ranked publication, The 100 Best Australian Albums and Triple J’s Hottest 100 Australian Albums Of All Time.
There was more solid proof of a new album in the pipeline last August, when the group unceremoniously dropped a link to a tune called ‘A Cowboy Overflow Of The Heart’. The piece featured some abstract spoken word poetry over a distinctive Avalanches-styled soundscape of cheering children, light banjo, and twinkling xylophone, all under the warm crackle of hazy vinyl.
Despite inside sources suggesting that mixing sessions in Melbourne had begun on new material, once again all information simply led to enigmatic misleads to what has become the most anticipated sophomore release in Australian music history, since they left us last in 2000.
King Kong premieres on Saturday 15th June for an exclusive run at Regent Theatre in Melbourne. More details at http://kingkongliveonstage.com