Since its release back in 2001 (in the UK at least) the crazy cut up eccentricity of The Avalanches début album Since I Left You has been a firm favourite of BlackPlastic's every single summer. With each year that passes without a follow up album the likelihood of ever hearing more from the band wanes yet it still manages to be a hot topic and attracts plenty of speculation. The latest rumour is that we may indeed see a new album late this year. BlackPlastic will believe it when we actually hear it.
Dexter (or DJ Dexter if you prefer) has since officially left the band but is credited with having a signifcant influence on the band's sound.
And listening to Hi-Hat Club (Volume Three) that influence is obvious. Frankly if you are jonesing for a bit more Since I Left You then you will probably find a lot to like here. As the title suggests there is a jazz vibe that runs throughout the album, and the overall sound has a little more hip-hop and a bit less "kitchen sink", but ultimately for an Avalanches fan the sound is like slipping into an old comfy chair. The observant will even notice that some of the same old sample used by The Avalanches crop up here on 'Practice' but this time they feature an MCs' snippets alongside them, reflecting the different tone of Hi-Hat Club.
The ideas and samples come thick and fast - 'The Future' kicks off with an old radio programme opening before slamming down a hip-hop beat and some jazz keys. The magical pairing of these two elements is reminiscent of instrumental J Dilla but this being Dexter it all feels a little bit more 'turntablism' and less pure hip-hop.
Ultimately the album follows a similar pattern throughout - combinations of hip-hop beats and bassline, jazz samples and radio snippets fade in and out to create what feels like a continuous piece rather than a set of discrete songs.
Hi-Hat Club is not the eclectic party celebration album that Since I Left You was, its more focused nature meaning that it never scales the dizzy heights of that album. Yet it's still a compelling and interesting listen and a clear demonstration of Dexter's skill.