THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Building on the sample-based approach of their classic albums Since I Left You and Wildflower, but stepping boldly into new terrain, We Will Always Love You is the new full-length masterpiece from The Avalanches.
The album features Ann Druyan (director of the Voyager Golden Record Project) on the album cover, with her cosmic love story with Carl Sagan inspiring this body of work. An exploration of the vibrational relationship between light, sound and spirit, We Will Always Love You doubles as “an exploration of the human voice” and a spiritual reckoning via the big questions “who are we really? What happens when we die?’ ” So says Robbie Chater, who alongside bandmate Tony DiBlasi and collaborator Andrew Szekeres, has moved beyond the party-up exuberance of The Avalanches’s youthful music to a tender, reflective sound infused with hard-earned life wisdom.
If there’s a single spark for We Will Always Love You, it’s the story of the love affair between Druyan and Sagan: “science communicators” whose writings and TV programs brought the ever-deepening mysteries of astronomy and astrophysics to the mass audience. Chater was profoundly moved by the fact that the couple’s romance was captured and carried into space, thanks to the Voyager Interstellar Message Project. Druyan served as creative director in charge of curating the Golden Record: earthling music and assorted terrestrial sounds gathered for the contemplation of any alien civilisations that might be out there and be advanced enough to construct a playback system.
Originally, Druyan was set to be a presence on We Will Always Love You: a studio was booked to record her telling her own story. That never transpired, but Druyan “gave us permission to use her photo on the album cover,” says Chater. “We photographed it off a static-y television set and ran it through a spectograph to make the cover image. So that was a beautiful way that Ann could still be part of the record. We turned her into sound and back again”
Sampling remains at the core of The Avalanches’ sound, but alongside all of the sample ghosts, We Will Always Love You features an array of living guests who contribute vocals and lyrics: Blood Orange, Rivers Cuomo, Pink Siifu, Jamie xx, CLYPSO, Denzel Curry, Tricky, Neneh Cherry, Sampa the Great, Sananda Maitreya and Vashti Bunyan and many more exciting collaborations to be revealed over the coming months. The Avalanches’ music has always dripped with melody, but because of this expanded role for guest singers and writers, We Will Always Love You is their most song-oriented album yet.
“For us, to make the same record again, no matter how well executed, wouldn’t have been satisfying,” says Chater. “We were looking to do something that would open up possibilities for the future. Take a bit of a left turn that frees us up to do whatever we want to next.”
Take Care In Your Dreaming, featuring alt-rapper Denzel Curry, Tricky and Melbourne-based Zambian rapper-singer Sampa The Great, is a song about unrealised dreams and navigating unexpected journeys through life. Music Makes Me High is truly an up tempo number, this disco-funk tune has a golden glow that simultaneously casts back to tunes like The Whispers’ And The Beat Goes On and to the filter-house echoes of that era such as Stardust’s Music Feels Better With You and Gusto’s Disco’s Revenge. Sparkling with the treble frequencies that made Since I Left You such a dizzy thrill, We Will Always Love You is dedicated to probing “the vibrational relationship between light, sound and spirit.” But the goal now is elevation rather than intoxication.
Unlike its precursor Wildflower, We Will Always Love You came together “like a single thought, that was followed through in one process, quite quickly,” says Robbie. “It took only a couple of years from start to finish. The conceptual heart of things is really important to me. I can’t just be blindly creative, I need to find a feeling and a deeply personal place that gives me the energy to start making a record and a story to share. Wildflower changed so much over 15, 16 years, whereas with this album, we knew what it was about right at the beginning, and then we did it, and it’s done.”