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Travelers Tune

By Shoutaro Takahashi

The Avalanches on Australia: This Place Rocks


This month I talked to The Avalanches, the chart-toppers from Down Under, just after returning from a trip to Australia where I meandered through CD shops and checked out the who’s who of the local music scene. What stood out the most was the undying popularity of The Avalanches whose debut album smashed onto the music scene in 2001.

Even in Japan their albums are still revered as the sacred wax of club sound. They maintain great popularity here and are fixtures on CD sales charts. I spoke with the group’s core, Darren and Robbie, about places they recommend to visit in their home country. This was some time ago while they were still active, so please forgive the time discrepancy and continue to look forward to their eventual comeback.

‘The big rock!’

Darren was the first to break the silence with his youthful enthusiasm and this simple recommendation. I assumed he was referring to Ayer’s Rock, properly called “Uluru.”

“Yeah, yeah. But nearby is also Mt. Olga, so it’s big rocks!”

Even with my quite fallible English, I picked up the plural on “rocks.” Mt. Olga, officially referred to as “Kata Tjuta,” lies 40 km. to the west of Uluru and is a combination of 36 large slabs; its overall surface area and height coming in greater than Uluru’s.
I managed to get out there and was happy to discover fields of flowers, streams and cool breezes between the rocks. However, it remains less popular than Uluru’s singular massive form.

‘The beach! The beaches are great in our country!’

Robbie switches subjects before I can even finish the “big rocks” conversation. But to what beach on this huge continent are they talking about? Perhaps somewhere around the Great Barrier Reef?

“No, no. First has got to be the West Coast—like around Perth. There’s a beach where you can swim with the dolphins. I forgot the name of it, though. In the East there’s Byron Bay which, by the way, has another one of those big rocks.”

The big rocks they’re referring to here are the “Julian Rocks,” a popular diving spot sustaining some 400 varieties of tropical fish.

Byron Bay, populated by hippies in the past and artists and travelers today, lies 170 km. south of Brisbane. The smell of marijuana floats on the breeze—perhaps making it an appealing choice for a musician’s favorite beach.

I wonder how their new tracks are coming along. Apparently, they’ll be hitting the stage in America soon, but there is no news about a Japan tour yet.


One album from The Avalanches and some related re-mixes

The Avalanches
Since I Left You

The particularly strict Madonna took one listen to this track and immediately gave her blessing on the use of her song. This album features more than 900 samples and is heralded a club classic; the title track being the worldwide anthem in 2001.

Manic Street Preachers
Forever Delayed
The national band of England, Manic requested this re-mix. Special edition best hits double album features the must hear “So Why So Sad.”

The Chemical Brothers
Singles 93 - 03
(Toshiba EMI)
Dexter had a hand in this mix which contains the track “Dexter’s Chemistry Lesson” only available on the original limited edition album released only in Japan. Tinkering with the Chemical Brothers tracks in and of itself is amazing.

Cornelius flipped things around by remixing the hit “Since I Left You” and giving it new life along with others by Beck, Moby and Bra?? and laying them out in this release.