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Amon Tobin – Box Set (Review)

Amon Tobin, Box Set

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE Amon Tobin box set is a strictly limited edition release and will come in the form of a high quality bolt fastened mechanical ‘press’.

Packed inside are 6 × 10” vinyl, 7 x CD, 2 x DVD and several posters. Most of the material is unreleased and almost none of it has ever been available on a physical format before. It includes new music, unreleased dub plates and a wealth of archive material, Amon Tobin’s earliest audio experiments (never been played in public before), film and television score work, unreleased score work, deleted bootlegs, ISAM live show DVD, ISAM live audio album, remixes, cover versions and re-interpretations of the ISAM album, remixes Amon has produced for others, a recording of the (November 2010) Royal Albert Hall orchestrations of Amon Tobin and more…

Given a collection of such magnitude, it’s only fair to reveal at this point that we’ve only heard a small fraction of it, as kindly supplied by Ninja Tune in the form of a sampler.

Yet, we like what we’ve heard and Amon Tobin fans are in for a treat.
Highlights include the funky, flute-laden, beat-centric Carry On Marmaduke, one of the ISAM bonus tracks and previously unreleased. We’re not sure why it’s never seen the light of day until now.

Madam Larivee, on the other hand, has a stripped back, atmospheric vibe attached to it. Yes, it struggles to get going but that sense of restraint, of impending fireworks, is intended. And you suspect it could well have been a soundtrack possibility at some point, particularly as it comes from The Lost Scores.

Strong, too, is the laidback, almost woozy Wooden Toy, which has a wonderfully trippy quality about it, and the beat-laden, occasionally spaced out Bath Scene (Here Comes The Moon Man), which again demonstrates Amon Tobin’s ability to mix the funky with the cinematic.

Admittedly, some of the remixes even on the sampler have a very ‘out there’ quality, while others take an age to get going (if at all). But that’s almost the risk you take when delving into unreleased material… rather like delving through deleted scenes from movies. Some were never meant to be seen or heard.

And yet, for those criticisms, there are still treasures to be found. The Third Hand combines a Lalo Schiffrin/David Holmes style vibe with some really rapid-fire beats and could be auditioning for a part in an Ocean’s 11 heist-style movie, while a live rendition of Bloodstone captured at the Royal Albert Hall succeeds in showcasing Amon Tobin’s live prowess. It’s edgy, almost balletic and totally captivating.

Like we’ve mentioned before, we cannot speak for the whole of the album and while the sampler we got sent did have some very big ‘miss’ moments, it suitably whet our appetite to find out what more this box set has to offer. And like we said, fans should join the clamour not to miss out (there are only 4,000 copies after all!).

NB. For full track listing follow the weblink to the Ninja Tune/Amon Tobin landing and pre-order page.