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Chill-out - Released April 26, 2019 | Nomark

Electronic/Dance - Released April 19, 2011 | Ninja Tune

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Amon Tobin made his name with the most distinctive sampladelic electronica in the business, and kept at it for longer than most, but eventually began trading in samples of jazz vinyl for field recordings and bands he’s captained. ISAM is his second straight invisible soundtrack, after 2007’s Foley Room, and as before, it shows Tobin fascinated with the science of sound. Short on beats but long on atmosphere, ISAM plays out like the soundtrack to some bizarre nature documentary: it continually pauses, goes off in another direction, halts again, then sits unmoving for a time, as though Tobin had been musically ghosting the movements of a tiny insect traveling along a leaf. That's not to say the production is naturalistic; in keeping with his usual style, the beats are massive and speaker-shuddering, but they rarely coalesce into a specific pattern. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Tobin succeeds despite this challenging rubric; ever since he began dabbling in video-game soundtracks, he's showed an intriguing resilience at making excellent music no matter what challenges he places in his way. ~ John Bush

Electronic/Dance - Released May 16, 2000 | Ninja Tune

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Electronic/Dance - Released May 11, 2015 | Ninja Tune

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Lounge - Released February 15, 2019 | Nomark

Electronic/Dance - Released February 26, 2007 | Ninja Tune

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Perhaps tiring of the invisible soundtracks playing in his head, Amon Tobin delivered a video-game soundtrack Chaos Theory: Splinter Cell 3 in 2005 and then hit the streets and studios, with microphones in tow, to produce 2007's Foley Room, an exercise in "field" recording. ("Foley rooms" are, apparently, the sound-effects chambers used by those in film.) Of course, anyone expecting crickets and hollers will be on unfamiliar ground, but those who are already aware of Tobin's penchant for spacious productions and sounds previously unheard in nature will know exactly what to expect. His stated aim here was to bridge the divide "between music that was based purely on sound design and tunes that were written to physically move people." But that's nothing new for him -- since the beginning of his career, he's been one of the best producers at manipulating found sounds into more-or-less danceable songs. Helping him on his quest is a large cast of collaborators, including Kronos Quartet, harpist Sarah Page, and Stefan Schneider of Music A.M. and To Rococo Rot. The music is suitably impressive, and shows -- as it should -- a far wider range of moods and textures than Tobin's work in the past. With good reason, the most adventurous tracks here ("Horsefish" and "Big Furry Head") are also the best, showing Tobin stretching himself beyond the usual electronica brainmelt into more progressive territory. ~ John Bush

Electronic/Dance - Released June 1, 1998 | Ninja Tune

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While the great majority of jazz-junglists look no farther back than the mid-'60s for inspiration (and samples), Tobin took his bag of tricks back into the swing era to come up with more (and more interesting) variations on the form than most anyone else. More Buddy Rich than Roy Ayers, Permutation sees leagues of different drum samples -- all of them found sounds-- with nary an Amen or Apache break in sight. From the detuned vibes and piano loops that drive the opener "Like Regular Chickens" to the Disney-on-acid "Nightlife," Tobin proves himself one of the ablest producers around. As on most indie-junglists' LPs, there are a couple of notable darkside tracks ("Reanimator," "Escape," "People Like Frank") but even here he shows himself superior to contemporaries like µ-Ziq. As the title suggests, Permutation is an incredibly varied ride. ~ John Bush

Electronic/Dance - Released January 18, 2005 | Ninja Tune

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Lounge - Released April 1, 2019 | Nomark

Electronic/Dance - Released October 14, 2002 | Ninja Tune

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Refining his dense, virtuosic production style with virtually every release, Amon Tobin entered the vanguard of electronic producers by accomplishing one of the truly difficult tasks in modern electronica: developing a distinctive sound. Though Tobin prefers grand orchestral themes over a soup of heavily messed-with samples and cavernous beats that reference turntablist rap, funky breaks, and the hyper-efficient techno of Mouse on Mars, his style ranges much farther afield than any of these. Out From Out Where is yet another link in the chain begun with 1997's Bricolage, each release bringing him closer to dance nirvana; wildly experimental yet extremely catchy, with only the above-mentioned Mouse on Mars able to rival his consistency and continual improvement. "Back From Space" is a solid opener, and leads well into his superb slice-and-dice job on the aptly named MC Decimal R for the single "Verbal," with a flamenco guitar and wordless female vocals for added spice. As before, and even more so this time, Tobin spends a lot of time in dark territory. He excels at creating an atmosphere of approaching menace, with short passages of dramatic samples and anxious strings often paving the way for another array of pummeling beats. The focus on a single mood occasionally threatens to lead only to a creative dead end, but Out From Out Where arguably betters its successors by coming together as a single work. ~ John Bush

Electronic/Dance - Released February 21, 2011 | Ninja Tune

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Electronic/Dance - Released October 7, 2002 | Ninja Tune

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Electronic/Dance - Released July 7, 2003 | Ninja Tune

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Always one to confound the expectations of the listening public, Amon Tobin's version of a remix album is only half true, the other side comprising a surprisingly focused mini-set of productions featuring Ninja Tune friends and well-wishers. (Fortunately, the title makes it abundantly clear what this record contains.) Despite the presence on the remix half of three heavy hitters (Prefuse 73, Kid 606, Boom Bip) and a talented newcomer (the French Topo Gigio), the collaborations comprise most of the highlights. What these artists -- Ninja Tune's Kid Koala and Bonobo, plus sampling godfather Steinski -- are able to add is a freshness to the sound of Amon Tobin, so distinctive but also in need of an update. Turntablist Kid Koala adds no scratching, but does convey atmospherics, while Steinski contributes his usual densely textured hip-hop chaos. Of the remixes, Prefuse 73's is the best, a balance of his b-boy cut-ups and the deep breaks of Tobin's original. ~ John Bush
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Lounge - Released March 22, 2019 | Nomark

Electronic/Dance - Released October 27, 1997 | Ninja Tune

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Electronic/Dance - Released June 15, 2011 | Ninja Tune

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Electronic/Dance - Released November 26, 2007 | Ninja Tune

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Electronic/Dance - Released April 28, 2003 | Ninja Tune

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 22, 2007 | Ninja Tune

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Electronic/Dance - Released November 1, 1996 | Ninja Tune

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Amon Tobin's debut 12" for Ninja Tune is two parts dark, slow-motion ambient dub-hop and two parts whizzing, schizo jungle-jazz. Tobin's instinct for jazz phrasing in a drum'n'bass context is what made his previous Adventures in Foam stand out, and here he lets up on nothing, with walking basslines and dizzying keyboard glissandos bubbling out of a soup of noisy chaos and rip-roaring amen beats. ~ Sean Cooper

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Amon Tobin

L'architecte brésilien

Génial bricoleur brésilien, Amon Tobin construit sa musique avec ses milliers de vinyles, des bruit d’usines ou d’insectes voire avec le Kronos Quartet ! Un véritable architecte avant-gardiste dont chaque album est un monument de groove anguleux et de sons ovni.

Les albums d'Amon Tobin sur Qobuz