Spun: Amon Tobin

By Ændrew Rininsland

It would probably be a really bad idea to drop acid and listen to Amon Tobin’s Foley Room.

Probably best known for doing the music for the videogame Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Tobin is much more than beeps and boops. Foley Room’s eerie, progressive, atmospheric ambient is simultaneously dark, beautiful, and not-very-conducive to a happy trip.

That’s not to say it’s bad. On the contrary, the soundscapes Tobin has constructed for this album are amazing in their sheer scope and elaborate beyond comprehension. Take “Bloodstone” for example. Recorded with the Kronos Quartet, Tobin stands in the centre of the room and points a hand-held directional mic at random people throughout the song while experimenting with various unconventional instruments, such as beans thrown at a drum and toy cars. If this sounds way too much like musique concrète for comfort, rest assured the result is absolutely mesmerizing.

The album has a bit of everything. “Esther’s” includes distorted motorcycle noises and Dick Dale-esque surf-guitar runs atop industrial breaks. Tobin’s drum-n-bass influences come out on a couple songs such as “The Killer’s Vanilla” and the title track. While some songs have noticeable mastering issues such as audio clipping, it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. The result is an intricate county-fair fun-house of audio: scary at times, often surreal, quite amusing and always good for a surprise or two.

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