The album that makes the world turn into a kaleidoscope; a very, very lonely, nostalgic kaleidoscope.
On the Avalanches monumental second album, they begin to walk a thin line between the style of their breakout and a more mainstream sound. The samples that sound like they were ripped straight from a 60’s recording studio are ever-present, yet features from Sonny Cheeba of Camp Lo, Danny Brown, and the masked villain himself introduce a flair of personality absent on Since I Left You.
However, it’s easy to find a difference in style, and, dare I say, attention on each track. On their first record, Robbie and Tony focused heavily on ensuring that samples from one song bled to another, creating an extremely immersive and winding experience. However, we find that on Wildflower, a large amount of sample stay firmly on their own track, with the exceptions of the Frankie Sinatra sample on “Because I’m me” and some Graham Bonnet undertones on “Going Home”.
Without a doubt, even in 2015, artists are beginning to recognize the tenets of the streaming age. Many listeners can’t find the time, or simply can’t be arsed, to listen to an album as a cinematic expeience. The Avalanches have begun to recognize this on their second album, and have designed songs that are acceptable to be put on a playlist. The “plunderphonics” sound, an idea which is defined by creating new music by amalgamating older pieces, must evolve inherently with the music around it.
Ultimately, Since I Left You was about 15 years ahead of its time. Wildflower comes off as more two to three, but the sample choices and feature choices that Tony and Robbie make have created a more cohesive and immersive project, which evokes more emotion that artistic wonder.
Kaleidoscopic Lovers is my favorite track. The overwhelming beautiful wall of sound constructed on this track washes over you gently but completely. The light vocal samples, the hypnotizing looped synth melody, and the fun mirrored drums and bass come together to create an ‘Avalanche’ if you will, of noise. This song ultimately defines exactly what the album feels like to me.
Wildflower is a kaleidoscope, indeed. A mediterranean beach, enclosed by mountains. A bright and bustling city street as the sun begins to dive below the skyscrapers. The blue/black night sky as scene from the window of an airplane. A group of men, all dressed like Jay Gatsby, tripping on acid on a hillside. And through all of the scenes, an array of colors spring from the water and reflect off of windows, lenses of glasses.
This album gives me hope that the world around me, in all of it’s beauty, is seen just as entirely as I do be the people around me.