26 July 2013

Amon Tobin - Supermodified

This website as regular readers will already be aware is all about examining the sounds and various beats, loops, melodies, rhythms and the endless list of instruments used that want to entice us into their music and to be enthralled by its own personal awe. If people, say, 50 years ago could envisage the sort of music we would be listening to today, then this surely would a strong contender.

So, the fella in question. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Amon Tobin is a musician, composer, electronica music producer extraordinaire. His samples and pieces have featured in many films, adverts, TV programs and trailers and yet have many of us heard of him? I certainly didn't until Top Gear began heavy usage of his music. Mr Tobin is also well travelled, having lived in Morocco, The Netherlands and The U.K. and has clearly been subjected to many audible tastes from all over the world which he brings to the table here.

Amon Tobin has eight albums to his credit in his 18 year career and Supermodified is his fourth. He started out cutting music based on electronica beats, beeps and tempo until the year 2000 release of this record, when he turned a major corner in his musical direction. Suddenly, a lot of the artificial material went out of the window and from there he went organic. On Supermodified the drums sound like he's recently tightened up a snare and a few toms on it, and the piano keys and wiring seem to have been well dusted down. It has an air of unplugged to it as demonstrated in Four Ton Mantis, a dark sprinkling over the ivories coupled with a couple of ominous horns and a death rattle for a sense of dark misgivings. By contrast Keepin' It Steel runs along a funky Camden Square theme, with assured guitar and glockenspiel accompaniments and the occasional Moog sifting in and out of the tune.

Chocolate Lovely says it all, personally it's a delight to listen to, the tom toms are an excellent introduction while the percussion sounds assured yet non intrusive to the keen ear. The fact that the synths flow with ease from a 'G' Minor to Major chord only puts the cherry on the cake. Other standout numbers are Get Your Snack On, a curiously titled song but reminds me a little of Bob Sinclar and Van Der Graaf Generator. At times very hurried and sometimes amusing. Golfer Versus Boxer is more evidence of breakbeats running riot, running along a typically tireless Buddy Rich solo.

I will confess that I often run a mile to get out of listening from DJ'ing and other related material, but having listened to Supermodified in full I'm now converted. Amon Tobin for me ticks all the boxes on how music should be played on a hot July evening when the heatwave shows no sign of easing up. You can use many superlatives to describe a piece of music, brilliant would certainly trivialise this, innovative is more appropriate for the end product.

9 out of ten. Almost perfect......almost.

Amon Tobin can be followed here on his official website

You can purchase Supermodified here on Amazon

You can listen to the whole album here on Spotify

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