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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Frontier Psychiatrist"

The Avalanches - Frontier Psychiatrist (2000)

"It is the opinion of the entire staff that Dexter is criminally insane."

This song is built almost entirely on samples of comedy records and lesser known songs of the 50s and 60s. The genre can be called a few things, but Wikipedia uses Plunderphonics, and I think its a hell of a word. Recognizable samples include dialogue from the John Waters film Polyester, the strings from the movie Lawrence of Arabia, quotes by Flip Wilson, and choir and horns from the Enoch Light Singers version of Bert Kaempfert's (You Are) My Way of Life. Kaempfert wrote Danke Schoen, L-O-V-E, and Strangers in the Night amongst other songs, but (You Are) My Way of Life was never that big. It is worth checking out though.

All together this jumbled mass of sounds really works well. I think the important thing they did was not to overwhelm the situation and just keep layering sound over sound. It's actually sparse in a way, and makes use of a "chorus" so that we have something to find and use as a center if we do get lost in the sound. Around 3:00 we get a change. The horn theme remains, but the choir drops out and we get quieter. Around 3:50 we get a guitar breakdown that fades us out of the piece. Someone has put together a video breaking out a lot of the samples. Here's a link.

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