DJ Shadow left a big mark on the electronic music scene with his innovative sample magic.
The Avalanches have taken that attitude to sampling and turntablism and just run with it. “Frontier Psychiatrist” contains samples of about 20 songs, or at least 20 things. There’s a lot of sounds in here that could be a bit incongruous, but somehow it all meshes together in a very entertaining way.
It’s like a drunken joy ride though a circus, an intoxicating boat cruise through a storm. It’s like a Salvador Dali painting, but made with sound.
Apparently the song was just made with the guys messing about. It does have an organic feel to it; there’s a whimsicality to proceedings that makes the whole thing very smooth flowing.
One of the key samples is actually from a comedy sketch, the 1959 “Frontier Psychiatrist” by Wayne & Schuster. Not surprising, considering that the song and video taken together could easily be a creation of a 21st iteration of Monty Python. It’s just surreal.
A lot of the tune is from “My Way Of Life” by The Enoch Light Singers. That is, the choral singing, trumpet and guitar strumming. These parts constitute the bulk of the song’s melodies, but obviously they have taken it far beyond that.
The song was the second single from the 2000 album Since I Left You, and for some reason got to number 18 on the U.K. singles chart but only number 49 on its native Australian chart. The world is getting smaller all the time I guess…