Thursday, March 8, 2007

Lions and Motorcycles

Amon Tobin is a man with quite the imagination. To me, the man is a wizard with sampling. He never ever get in trouble with royalty problems because he warps the samples till there is no possible way you can recognize what the original sample was. Also, his samples (at times) seem so chaotic, but you never feel like, "Holy Shit, stop this just stop! There is way too much going on here, too much noise." Then you throw the cd into the "fuck off, I'll listen to later in a month's time when I'm in a better mood pile." Amon has the amazing ability to control the samples into beautiful collages. Mr. Tobin, these days, is almost turning into just an innovator in the study of sound. Sounds pretentious, I know. Yet, he is taking a new approach these days.

Amon has stopped with the sampling of old jazz records and is now focusing on field recordings. His new album, The Foley Room, is a whirlwind of field recorded samples. There are motorycles to lions and tigers roaring on this album. I even heard that there are ants eating leaves somewhere. But please, please, don't think this is just some weird album filled with nonsense. There are guitars, string quartets, and drums. The Foley Room, is like the rest of Amon's albums. It is really fucking cool. Producers lately are throwing away their old approaches to making music and starting a new way. Both Dj Shadow and RJD2 have stopped completely sample-based albums. Yet, these albums have turned out to be very poor efforts. Amon, on the other hand, has succeeded. His new approach is very fresh and exciting.

The Foley Room goes through a wide range of ideas. The first song, "Bloodstone," is a piece mainly made up eastern European strings and melodies then to be confronted at the end by drums toppling over on themselves. The second track,"Esther's," is where that motorycle sample comes in with a fuzzed out guitar, but then kicks off with some awesome dill and bass drums. Never in this record do I feel like I am listening to Squarepusher or Aphex Twin, which to me, is a good thing. I respect those guys, but I could not ever make it through one of their albums all the way through. I can do that with Amon. His albums are steps forward, but there is something organic to all of them. Throughout the album, you'll hear some classic breakbeats( Amon style of course). There is one track on here that is without drums, and usually that really turns me off when it is coming from an artist that mainly samples. Yet, Amon pull this one off. It is filled with Ennio Morricone-esque strings and guitars. Towards the end of the album, there is a track called "Always." This is my personal favorite. On this song there are vocals, guitars, fuzzed out basses, and kick ass breakbeats. This is the most radiofriendly you'll ever find Amon Tobin.

The Foley Room is a success for Tobin. He has taken a new direction in his music and is doing it nicely. The Foley Room is definetly not the first Amon Tobin album you should buy. I would say go with Supermodified of Permuntation before this. Yet, it is a very good album. Tobin is taking some very nice steps forward, as he always does.

No comments: