Sunday, July 10, 2011

Amon Tobin: ISAM

Amon is a Brazilian Electronic artist – calling someone an “Electronic artist” is a brush the paints a broad stroke. Tobin’s music is strangely unique. His most recent album, ISAM, follows the same path as his previous compositions.

I like to think of Amon Tobin’s music as an incomplete sentence: one that doesn’t form a coherent thought initially. It’s complex and simple at the same time. Some songs may start off with a dog growling, an engine revving, or the shaking of a spray-paint can. How these simple sounds form into a tune is the enigma that runs through your brain as you listen.

There’s a certain mystery to listening to Amon’s odd melodies. It’s very sample heavy. Most tracks have a darker tone, almost industrial, like metal clanging together. It can take on a very futuristic feel and classic synth noises are overlaid across.

ISAM is dark and foreboding, an overcast cloudy sky. It features the heaviest sampling from Amon yet. Each song has a perplexing intro – the twinkle of chimes may dissolve into a full on orchestral aural storybook, like “Morning Ms. Candis.” So called “traditional” instruments are rarely heard, in the case of “Night Swim” Amon finds a way to make one of the most pleasant sounding instruments, a harp, eerie.

Amon Tobin has a gift -- one even he may not even recognize. He’s a DJ that doesn’t spin on turntables he instead mixes samples together to make a rich listening experience. It’s a musical creation, there’s nothing else like it. Not for everybody, and its taken time for me to decipher his music and enjoy it for what it is: otherworldly.

ISAM may take awhile to grow on me. Of all the music I listen to Amon’s needs the most replays to garner a fondness. Those looking for something completely different should seek out this and all his previous work. He goes by the alias Cujo on his first studio album, from that point on he uses his real name Amon Tobin on subsequent projects.

The songs to travel through time with:

“Piece of Paper”
“One Last Look”
“Lost & Found”
“Kitty Cat” – very creepy!

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