THE AVALANCHES – “Live on Radio One at Ibiza, 4/8/01”

After a straightforward tour of Carribbean rhythms, and before a totally righteous collision of The Jackson Sisters, Madonna, Bob Dylan and the Avalanches themselves, the most confused-sounding mixing of the set: what sound like three or four records frame America’s “Ventura Highway,” some calypso horn blats and flute flitters at seemingly random moments, weedy strings playing chords held long, overpowered by vinyl crackle, gayer than a hello and sadder than a sigh. Some people like describing pop music in terms of ephemerality, because the pleasures of pop isn’t suppose to last, and some people like describing the Avalanches in terms of ephemerality, because they play with pop records whose pleasures weren’t so supposed to last. But this isn’t ephemerality, it’s evanescence — the sublime of the small. It’s where the beauty that hovers tantalizingly close to the margins of consciousness, and the struggle to pay attention is always frustrated. Christ, it’s lovely.