One of my favorite memories as a music lover takes me back to the summer before I started college. I was teaching at a debate camp at the University of Texas, and I discovered that one of my students had an awesome taste in music. I asked him if I could take some of his music and copy it to my portable hard drive, and when he complied I felt like I had just hit the jackpot. I got close to 30GB of music in a matter of hours, and the process of listening to and filtering it all is something that I will always attribute my dream of becoming a music journalist to. Out of the entire batch (and believe me, there was a hell of a lot great music in there), the album that stood out the most to me was Since I Left You by Australian group The Avalanches. Their way of combining out of bounds vocal, spoken word, and instrumental samples (over 900 of them, all in the liner notes) and live instrumentation completely floored me. I had never heard anything quite like them, and to this day Since I Left You remains one of my all time favorite albums.

Since it’s original release in late 2000, the influence of the group can be found in everyone from Animal Collective and El Guincho to the nauseating pop mash-ups of Girl Talk. For years, these group’s forefathers have remained dormant, failing to release the album that would remind everyone why they are one of the original masters of the genre. Now, over a full decade has passed with a slim likelihood of a return voyage to The Avalanches’ musical world. While there have were rumors and speculation as to when the listening public would be invited back in, only recently have there been beacons of hope leading me to believe that 2011 will see a follow-up to Since I Left You.

Over the past two years or so, there have been encouraging signs that the group has not gone dormant and has been hard at work. During the Summer of 2009, the group’s MySpace status read “[The Avalanches] …are clearing samples,” indicating that they were busy in making sure every aspect of their second album was deemed legally usable. Then this past June, Pitchfork reported that bedroom pop weirdo Ariel Pink was recording vocals with the group, and within the last couple of months, the group put up a redesigned website and joined Twitter. Aside from a retweet by The Root’s Questlove that expresses his desire for a new Avalanches album, the only other tweet urges fans to “stay tuned in the coming months for special announcements.”

I’m willing to bet these special announcements will have something to do with the status of their second LP, whether it’s announcing an official release date or acknowledging that there will be a finished product sometime in the foreseeable future. The musical landscape is a much different place now, but the timelessness of Since I Left You has allowed it to endure long enough for people to care whether or not The Avalanches make a second album. If it maintains all of the fine qualities of it’s predecessor, the decade long wait will be more than worth it, and maybe even a new generation will be turned on to the musical visionaries.

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