This year’s MUTEK festival boasts several big names, but perhaps none bigger than Amon Tobin, who’s been pioneering his deep brand of sample-based music for the better part of twenty years. Tobin supported his latest album Isam at MUTEK 2011 on June 1 with a massive 3D art installation and spectacular live show. The man just keeps on impressing us.
Tobin is one of those names, like Aphex Twin and Plastikman (the latter also appearing at this year’s MUTEK) that’s known well beyond the inner circle of electronic music devotees, having achieved a brand of mainstream recognition in a traditionally underground scene.
Born Amon Adonai Santos de Araujo Tobin, the Brazilian genius was releasing music from his bedroom studio as a teenager, which eventually led to some notoriety via his debut album Adventures in Foam under his artist name, Cujo. An underground sensation, Adventures in Foam attracted attention from the likes of Funki Porcini, which led to Tobin being signed to infamous London label Ninja Tune. 1997 saw the release of Tobin’s breakthrough album Bricolage, which attracted significant critical attention – and the rest is, if not history, then legend at the least.
Tobin is known for his deep, layered production, which fuses samples of acoustic instruments with hard-hitting breakbeats and drum and bass rhythms. Tobin’s work is varied and genre-sweeping – at times frenetic and claustrophobic, at times relaxed and subtle. Orchestral and jazz instruments figure prominently in much of his work. The cinematic richness of Tobin’s sound has given him the opportunity to work in film and video games as a soundtrack artist, and he’s been lauded by gamers and music lovers alike for his work on the Splinter Cell series and the recent Infamous.
Since 2002 Tobin has resided in Montreal courtesy of his association with Ninja Tune’s Montreal offices, which means MUTEK wasn’t much of a commute. Tobin’s June 1st spectacular brought the house down with wild projections of 3D abstract visions upon a massive sculptural form, courtesy of several fabricating and engineering companies who collaborated on the huge project. Of course, this kind of collaborative fusion has defined Tobin’s career all along. The only question remaining in the aftermath of MUTEK is, how can Tobin possibly top himself now?
We can’t wait to find out!