Monday, March 26, 2007

Amon Tobin "Foley Room"


Artist: Amon Tobin
Album: Foley Room
Label: Ninja Tune
Release date: 5 March 2007
Genre: Electronic
Style: Breakbeat/Drum 'n' Bass


Tracklisting:
01. Bloodstone [Feat. Kronos Quartet]
02. Esther's
03. Keep Your Distance
04. The Killer's Vanilla
05. Kitchen Sink
06. Horsefish
07. Foley Room
08. Big Furry Head
09. Ever Falling
10. Always
11. Straight Psyche
12. At The End Of The Day
Total running time: 50' 33"

[Amon Tobin - Foley Room - Trailer #1]

[Amon Tobin - Foley Room - Trailer #2]

"For someone with such an uncanny aptitude for evoking a wide range of cinema-friendly mood music, Amon Tobin's potential as a soundtracker seems to have been largely unrealized. What he does have on his resumé-- the scores to stealth-kill video game Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, a surrealist, morbid Hungarian film about taxidermy, and a car commercial in which a group of presumably nude silhouettes contort their way into the shape of an SUV-- hints at why. Since Tobin makes no distinctions between background and foreground music and tends to wring as much distortion, dissonance, and rhythmic unease as he can from his jazz and orchestral-skewing sample sources, his music tends to evoke a malevolent presence that, whether skulking or charging, easily overwhelms all but the most immersive and eye-catching visual accompaniment.

The irony in Tobin's The Foley Room is that his cinematic ear has spurred him toward different motion picture-derived source material. Paring down his repertoire of bop debris and Ennio Morricone/Jerry Goldsmith evocations, Tobin's assembled his newest album as if he's decided he's exhausted the possibilities of musical instruments themselves and gone outside with a microphone to find out what sort of ambient sounds would make good beats. It makes sense in that the only thing that separates the manipulated sound of a household appliance or the drone of machinery from an electronically generated percussive effect is the element of familiarity; given the way Tobin's samples tend to transmutate traditional orchestration into concussed unrecognizability, manipulating a non-musical effect into a similar state is an inevitable step, one that he initially took in 1998 with Permutation and has been creeping towards ever since.

But while other musique concrète specialists such as Matmos aim to bring specific messages to mind with their thematic choices of sound manipulation, Tobin's approach seems to aim strictly for the aesthetic-- like two slabs of raw steak smacked together to simulate a punch to the head in some 1930s radio serial, the meaning of the medium's less important than how the end result sounds. Some of the effects' usage is a bit self-aware of their non-musical origins: "Kitchen Sink" is just that, a booming series of splashes that sound like elastic liquid dripping into a stainless steel basin and ricocheting its way down the drain; the fuzztone in the metallic drill-n-bass of "Esther's" is boosted by the rumble of a motorcycle engine, "Leader of the Pack" style (a rumble augmented by, and this required looking up, the sound of restless wasps); the title track introduces a few clamorous mess-making tumbles and crashes, shaped into something that sounds like the collapse of a kitchen shelf set to an Art Blakey drum solo.

But not everything is as blatantly laid out: The Robitussin whir that "The Killer's Vanilla" breathes through could be anything from a slowed-down pipe organ to a creaking set of gears passed through a filter or three, not to mention the way "Keep Your Distance" blurs the lines between woodblock-and-cowbell percussion and what seems to be the clamor of a recycling bin tipping over. Since Tobin still uses his share of musical instrumentation (including a memorable Slavic-esque string melody contributed by the Kronos Quartet on "Bloodstone"), figuring where the musician ends and nature or the machinery or the junkpile begins is intriguingly confusing. Supposedly there are recordings of ants eating grass and building acoustics somewhere on this record, but damned if they're easy to pinpoint amidst the beats.

Once the novelty of the record's field recording collage-job settles down, The Foley Room proves to be rhythmically consistent with Tobin's glitchy, post-jungle M.O., if somewhat exploratory; a couple moments flirt with dubstep but get too twitchy and restless to segue all that comfortably into your typical Burial track, and the broken-down carnival dance-rock of "Always" is just close enough to a genuine crowd-pleasing dancefloor number that it's a bit startling when the inevitable diamond-crushing load of distorted bass comes in. In the end, what makes The Foley Room Tobin's best album in seven years is the way his bent for organized chaos manifests as a deft control of every sound that surrounds him: Anything's a beat, everything's a break, and the difference between sound and music is entirely contextual." [source]

[Download.Buy]

Download bonus DVD: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]
Video: DivX 720x480 29.97fps
Audio: MPEG Audio Layer 3 48000Hz stereo 128Kbps

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