Amon Tobin

For Amon Tobin's Chaos Theory: Splinter Cell 3 Soundtrack, the Brazilian-born U.K. resident and producer/DJ spun delicately assembled cinematic instrumentals into epic nightmarish videogame backdrops, boasting chopped organ and string section bits over boisterous drum breaks. It was another impressive exercise in Tobin's venturesome sound manipulation, but Foley Room presented a bigger challenge for the beatmaker, one that he met with the help of a sound engineer and grim, dissonant string arrangements from Kronos Quartet. For the purposes of implementing atypical components on Foley Room, Tobin sought out nonmusical elements and mic'd insect colonies, animals at mealtime and motorcycle engines, as visualized in the accompanying (and inexplicably brief) DVD. As a result, Foley Room is a masterfully executed experiment, brimming with tempo changeups and sonic trickery that finds Tobin incorporating melodies built from water in motion and cutlery ("Kitchen Sink") as well as monstrous wildlife vocalizations and brawny sampled kick-snare combinations ("Big Furry Head"). The looped drum breaks are still erratic and prominent on entries such as "Ever Falling," but when the sources of the other elements are detectable, it's not much of a novelty. Just positively baffling.
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Dominic Umile

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