x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Amon Tobin makes electronic music with a difference

The Brazilian producer Amon Tobin's new album combines organic sound with field recordings to intriguing effect.

Amon Tobin


(Ninja Tune)


Amon Tobin will be known to many videogamers for his soundtrack work on Tom Clancy's hugely successful Splinter Cell series, but his own releases are wilfully non-commercial. With each new record, Tobin not only reinvents the concept of electronic music, but often the way we listen to it. The Brazilian producer came to prominence in the mid-1990s with his innovative use of musical samples, then looked further afield on the 2007 album Foley Room, using animals, vehicles and even a kitchen sink as source materials. For ISAM he again relied on field recordings, and his own voice, but then manipulated those samples via traditional instruments. The results are an unsettling mix of the mechanical and organic. Bedtime Stories sounds like a swarm of android bees, Goto 10 could be metallic cockroaches, while on Lost and Found someone attempts John Barry's Ipcress File theme while being eaten by a robot shark. What a sinister game that would be. Bursts of pleasing melody do break through on occasion, and an accompanying installation may further enhance the experience. The Saatchi Collection's Tessa Farmer has built numerous sculptures inspired by the tracks, also from found materials, and one also graces the cover. Even if their creations leave you cold, then, you can admire their recycling.