A case in point: on Soundcloud, someone has uploaded the Windows 95 start-up sound – the original composed by Vivid LIVE godfather Brian Eno – slowed and stretched by 4000% into a four-minute ambient masterpiece – it’s almost at one million plays.
Layers of identity are constructed when musicians sample, re-sample and de-sample through the decades. Eddie Murphy’s voice in the 1983 film Trading Places was sampled in 1991 by house legends Masters at Work, and then 20 years later MikeQ sampled Masters at Work sampling Eddie. In 2014 Björk collaborator Lotic deconstructed the same sound in Heterocetera.
And then last year Apple kicked up a Twitter war when the same sound appeared in its advertisement to launch the iPhone 7.
Ben Marshall, the Head of Contemporary Music at Sydney Opera House and the festival curator for Vivd LIVE says both The Avalanches and DJ Shadow's debut albums were immediately recognised as epochal works. "Endtroducing and Since I Left You were profoundly evocative records," he says. "Their sampling managed to bring a sense of playing with time and legacy, even when the releases were brand new."
While the sound of Shadow’s sampling has evolved, there’s a greater consistency with the sound of The Avalanches. Chater believes one difference in the composition of Since I Left You and Wildflower is that the latter involved more surfing around YouTube rather than flipping through records in record stores. But if the mechanics are different, the artistry is the same – sitting down and listening to strange old music.
“It triggers something in me that makes me feel a certain way. It’s a feeling there that I can expand on,” he says of the sounds he’s looking for.
Sometimes he or his fellow band member Tony Di Blasi will hold tracks in their mind for years, waiting to find the other track that completes the idea they have in their minds. In one instance, that track was Madonna’s Holiday. Of the hundreds of samples on Since I Left You, the unmistakable bounce of Holiday adds an instant dose of 80s pop to the album’s second track, Stay Another Season. The process of getting the clearance was long and involved, but the band was convinced it was essential.
“We were sampling Latin travel holiday records. In the 50s exotica was really big. People would listen to Hawaiian music at their backyard barbeques, and the idea of using Holiday came to us. It started as a bit of a joke but then we decided to give it a go. It took a lot of attempts, but we got there.”
“That entire album was about taking a journey,” Chater says. "The spirit we were chasing was that beautiful moment between happy and sad. That feeling of melancholy. For me creating music is expressing myself from the heart and trying to get how I feel out there. A sample is just the instrument that I use.”