Friday, 27 May 2011

ISAM - Amon Tobin

I'm a junkie. I'm a junkie slowly decomposing from the despair of needing something I haven't been able to find. Hundreds upon hundreds of songs fought through by the week, only to yield nothing but maybe a fleeting glimpse of what I'm so desperately in search of. "Beauty can be found in everything", someone once told me... evidently the idea of universal beauty is true but it seems only temporarily.

It's been two years now.

I was 1 minute and 12 seconds into "Calculate" when it hit me, that warm rush that steals you from your body and leaves you there, drifting. The feeling of peace that knocks you down and smothers you as you smile, silently urging it to press harder. The fact that electronic bleeps, chimes, rattles and horns can have an effect like this (hell, the fact that any sound can have an effect like this) is a mystery. Personally, I'd like it to remain so.

The fantastic thing about electronic music is that it has no agenda, the composer sits at their computer and creates whatever they want without the fear of having to present themselves through lyrics. There isn't a chance to judge the person, only the music and it's a more pure relationship because of this. With electronic music, or indeed any music without lyrics be it classical, jazz or whatever, you are not interpreting the words but instead you are interpreting the emotion and feel of the music itself. Amon Tobin invites this beautifully, creating something that takes time to properly understand, as a result ISAM will mean something different to everyone.

To deviate from this late-night love letter to the partnership between the machine and the imagination, Amon Tobin's experimental nature is something that really shines through to give this album an edge. He's continued the trend from his previous album of collecting a huge variety of unique and often quirky samples that, in a logical world, should not sound as good as he makes them. The first-bite-of-an-apple crunch in "Lost & Found" for instance, which makes up the majority of the percussion, or the sci-fi lazer sounds that end "Morning Ms Candis" do not seem out of place before you start looking for them, which is what I think is most astonishing.

ISAM has it's highs and lows just like every other album, but I have a feeling that they will be different depending on the individual. What you take from this music is entirely up to you. I just know that I see Amon Tobin creating order from chaos and the sense of relief in the lulls between. At times it sounds like a reserved celebration, but then there's a hint of desperation in "One Last Look" and a flash of something verging on anger in "Goto 10". Sometimes it suffers from some bumps in the flow with the contrast between songs often being too sudden, but for the most part this can be forgiven.

All I know is that this is the best rush I've had since first hearing Jupiter by Gustav Holst and that was 3 years ago; so chastise me if you will for a review that may seem too personal, too vague, too much... but thanks to this album I simply could not care less.

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