The Avalanches Drop H&C Remix

An official Mushroom Records press release on The Avalanches cover of Talking To A Stranger.

Author:  Mushroom Records.

Date: 9 September 2013.

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Richard Lowenstein has re-edited his famous clip for Hunters & Collectors’ classic debut single, “Talking To A Stranger”, to accompany The Avalanches’ new remix of the song.

Rechristened “Stalking To A Stranger (Planets Collide Remix)”, it is taken from the forthcoming Hunters & Collectors tribute album Crucible – A Tribute To Hunters & Collectors, released Friday 27 September.

The album features the likes of Eddie Vedder & Neil Finn, Paul Kelly, Something For Kate, Matt Corby & Missy Higgins, Cloud Control, Alpine and more covering the iconic Melbourne band. You can see the full tracklisting here.

Speaking of their remix, which features a sample of Dan Hartman’s “Relight My Fire”, Avalanches founding member Robbie Avalanche says, “Firstly, Mark Seymour is a Western Bulldogs fanatic and us Footscray lifers have to stick together! At a fundamental level, it was both an honour and incredibly daunting to be asked to remix such an incredible song.

“What a stunning and risky way to announce your presence as a new band. Hunters & Collectors pulled it off though. We loved the Conny Plank and krautrock influences, the Hunters really were ahead of the curve with this track. There’s a sense of dread and darkness that you can’t quite put your finger on, which we tried to maintain, while fucking it up a bit to make it appealing to leftfield DJs and music lovers.”

You can listen to a radio edit of the remix below.

Lowenstein, whose films include cult classic Dogs In Space and He Died With A Felafel In His Hand, and who has directed music videos for the likes of INXS, Cold Chisel and U2, restored and then re-cut the original 16mm film.

Describing the process, Lowenstein says:

“As I was hunched over in the time capsule of my cramped attic, sorting my way through rusty tins of U2, INXS, Jo Camilleri, Crowded House, Pete Townshend and The Church I came across a tin with the words Hunters & Collectors scrawled on it. I lifted it up very excited but my heart sank when I saw the words ‘Lumps Of Lead’ on it. Not the song I was looking for. I was about to give up and resign myself to doing some kind of a ‘mash-up’ using the original video of ‘Talking To A Stranger’ from back in the day when I lifted the very last box of a number of huge stacks of film boxes in my attic to see this lying in the dust:

“‘Talking To A Stranger’ had involved eight rolls of 16mm film running simultaneously to achieve its overall effect. Hence the A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H rolls on the label. It was gonna be a bugger to restore to HD but thank god we had shot it on 16mm and not the video quality of the day, otherwise all that would be saveable would be a bleary mush of outdated technology. I also thank all the gods of ancient Greece that my mother was a librarian and I am compulsive about keeping originals of things in my attic.

“Scanned at 2k resolution and with restored colour information and painstakingly synced and edited again in a homage to the original the new ‘redux’ version is perhaps, as Mark Seymour says, ‘better than the first if that is possible… A really unique work of art. It is all about Troy really. it always was…’ He’s right. As I edited it all again 30 years later to the new Avalanches remix of the song and stared at Troy’s idea of putting the elastic band around Mark’s face I thought, ‘It really is all about Troy.’ He had that effect on people.”

The ‘Troy’ Lowenstein mentions is the late Peter ‘Troy’ Davies. Describing him, Lowenstein says:

“Troy was our eccentric, chaotic, irrepressible, bi-sexual muse, co-director and stylist who would throw ideas and concepts at us all the time and in this case he played the ‘creature’ in the video as well. We couldn’t afford to pay him (or anyone) so we animated his name (along with two others) onto the video as a form of payment. He became an essential addition to the crew on all of our landmark videos throughout the 1980s. He ended up releasing his own singles under the name Ecco Homo, produced by Ollie Olsen and with cameos from Bono, Edge and Michael Hutchence.”

The Avalanches’ remix is the second reworking of “Talking To A Stranger” on Crucible – the album opens with Birds Of Tokyo’s version of the 1982 song.

Crucible – 30 songs, featuring 15 stunning tributes and 15 original recordings – will be available for pre-order from Friday 9 August from Sanity, iTunes and JB Hi-Fi.

Check out Lowenstein’s original “Talking To A Stranger” clip below.