"Hunters & Collectors - Stalking to a Stranger (Planets Collide Remix)" by The Avalanches
When last we met The Avalanches, they were dropping a demo called “Cowboy Overflow of the Heart" that sounded both very unlike their previous work and somehow strangely perfect. "Stalking to a Stranger" isn’t meant to be taken as an original song - they’ve been very clear about that - and it’s much more a piece with what we’ve heard from them before. Now, with The Avalanches, that means that it’s a remix that works less like a riff on the original and more like a completely new piece of music. Specifically, “Stalking” reminds me of The Avs’ take on Belle & Sebastian’s “I’m A Cuckoo,” which stands as one of my all-time favorite remixes. Where the original is straight-up power pop, the remix works through an atmospheric of clinking percussion and flute, evoking some sort of tropical paradise singalong and reaching the same joyous peaks by a completely different route.
Similarly, “Stalking to a Stranger” is entirely dissimilar in sound to Hunters & Collectors’ original, yet faithful to the mood and goals of that song. H&C went noisy, krautrocky, and strange with their song, creating something propulsive and more than a little creepy. The Avalanches build their remix on a disco sample that’s to start - brilliantly pitched down ever slightly to take on a bit more weight, then diced along with Mark Seymour’s vocals into something that reconfigures the original melody completely but hits its leftfield appeal dead-on. I’m long past the point of allowing myself to get excited about a new album from The Avalanches; I’ll believe it exists when I actually hold it in my hands and not before. But even if all they do for the next decade is continue to turn out remixes, if that means we get work as perceptive, detailed, and compelling as “Stalking to a Stranger,” I’ll have nothing to complain about.