Amon Tobin

Biography

Somewhere back in the mid-90's a fresh faced Brazilian ex-pat living in the UK decided he was going to put down his harmonica, pick up a sampler, and name himself after a Stephen King novel. The resulting album, Cujo's 'Adventures In Foam' (released on Ninebar records, later reissued on Ninja Tune) signaled Amon Tobin's entry into the world of music. Well actually there's a pre-Cujo project also, but everybody knows not to talk about it... but if you get Amon really drunk... actually no, even then he won't play it for you.

Immediately upon hearing this record, the powers that be at Ninja Tune signed him up to record as Amon Tobin, and he quickly went to work on his debut 'Bricolage'. If you'll recall, these were the 'trip-hop' years for electronic music, where any clown with a sampler and a collection of Blue Note records could knock off some half-baked boutique hotel background music. But 'Bricolage' shone above all that. Although employing a marriage of jazz and beats, it stretched it further by bringing in elements of bossa-nova, batucada, and jungle, and combining it with a sense of song-writing that elevated it above the standards of that aforementioned scene. I mean hell, it has a song on it which was inspired by Amon taking a piss on his neighbors bike after some domestic living dispute (A Day In My Garden)...this was clearly no good vibes jazzy beats guy Ninja had signed.

Next up came 'Permutation'. Although stylistically a logical follow up to 'Bricolage', it was also on this album where things starting taking a noticeable turn to a much darker output. In fact you can actually trace Amons career based on coffee shop & dinner party accessibility...and let's just say that this record signaled the end of anyone being able to use Amon records as background music. This one cut a wide path; from the film tributes of 'Like Regular Chickens' & 'People Like Frank', to the monster breaks on 'Sordid' (easily his biggest 'hit' in the catalog), to the caravan-esque shuffle of 'Nightlife', and ending with the ultra-lush 'Nova' (which later was used for Bebel Gilberto's 'Samba Da Bencao on her debut album).

Call it end of millennium tension, but while the rest of us were out stockpiling food for the apocalypse, Amon was channeling all that into his next release 'Supermodified'. Treating it like if this was the end of the human race as we knew it and computers would never work again (or god forbid, if we were to be ruled by apes), than damn if he wasn't going make this banger before the lights went out. If Amon's career is a 4LP set, then this 3rd installment appropriately comes off like the 3rd side of any 4LP 70's rock opus...a time to push some boundaries, challenge the fans a bit, and set the stage for what's to come later. The record was an experiment in sound. Marking the point where Amon become more and more obsessed with unheard but felt bass frequencies, and where he allowed a few collaborators into the mix (mainly Chris Morris of Brass Eye & Blue Jam fame, and Montreal beatboxer Quadraceptor). The record where the bossa-nova/jazz Amon Tobin was for the most part laid to rest and the dark/electronic/soundtrack Amon Tobin came into form. 'Four Ton Mantis' is a classic, 'Deo' would have done Sergio Leone proud, and 'Get Your Snack On' paid tribute to one of the Internet's finest fake commercials. In 2002, Amon decided to relocate to Montreal. As Ninja Tune's North American headquarters is based there he'd spent a lot of time soaking in the culture and summer sunshine of the city, never once thinking that he'd never actually visited during the winter... So somewhere around the time he felt the sensation of his nose hairs freezing for the first time, he settled into his new studio armed with a fresh set-up and an A La Carte Express menu by his side (Montreal's bible of food for shut-ins) to put the finishing touches on 'Out From Out Where'. When Sun Ra penned the song Out From Out There, 'there' clearly meant outer space. When Amon decided to call his record 'Out From Out Where', the 'where' meant just that... a record that came from somewhere nobody could quite pinpoint. This was the logical conclusion of what the previous records had hinted at. It was a cohesive and banging record, but one with no obvious reference points. It just sounded like Amon Tobin, and Amon (more so than a lot of artists) can actually say his sound is very much recognizable as his own. This was wide screen Amon, dropping the cut-up hip hop of 'Verbal', the Eli Wallach inspired 'Hey Blondie', the future electro-disco of 'Cosmo Retro Intro Outro', and the terrifying death march of 'Proper Hoodidge' .The tour for this album also resulted in Amon's entry into the Solid Steel mix series, with a tough ass Final Scratch DJ set captured in Australia released in June 04.

In early 04 video game developers Ubisoft decided to approach Amon to compose all the music for the 3rd installment of their enormously popular Splinter Cell series. Seeing as he wasnt able to get past the second level of Splinter Cell 1, he thought that making the soundtrack would clearly be an easier way to interact with this game. This was a chance for Amon to experiment with different ways of composing and to finally realize a teenage ambition (although this soundtrack in no way reflects his love for Galagaeven though that was a hot game). Also composing a proper soundtrack allowed him to be a little more progressively excessive, with the inclusion of extended string arrangements and over the top Hammond organ solos woven into his sounds. Like Italian prog sensation Goblin composing for a Bond film would be an apt comparison for this work. A love of soundtracks has always been a key influence in his work, and it clearly shows here. The game will be released in March 05. An accompanying soundtrack on Ninja Tune will be released in Jan 05. A 5.1 DVD-Audio version will be released simultaneously with the game, putting Amon at the forefront, as always, of pushing forward sounds.

From Discogs:

Brazilian-born artist Amon Tobin started off under the pseudonym of Cujo in the mid 1990s, then living in the UK. Cujo lived for a series of singles, EPs, and remixes, peaking with the album Adventures In Foam, all originally on NINEBARecords, and appeared first in the US on the label Shadow Records. Around 1997, he switched to going by his own name, signed to the Ninja Tune label, where he has resided ever since. Amon Tobin's recordings have grown from solo creations to collaborations, to the point of having a variety of artists help weave live instruments into his latest album for the 3rd Splinter Cell game. His live shows, like his music creation, have evolved over time. Starting with the usual variety of knobs and turntables, he's moved on to using Final Scratch Pro in recent tours (circa 2004), and he will be using surround sound equipment in his 2005 tour series.

From Lastfm:

Amon Tobin (born Amon Adonai Santos de Araújo Tobin on February 7, 1972) is a Brazilian musician, composer and producer of electronic music. He is described as a virtuoso sound designer and is considered to be one of the most influential electronic music artists in the world. He is noted for his unusual methodology in sound design and music production. He has released seven major studio albums under the London-based Ninja Tune record label.

Read more about Amon Tobin on Last.fm.

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From Wikipedia:

Amon Adonai Santos de Araújo Tobin (born February 7, 1972), better known as Amon Tobin, is a Brazilian musician, DJ, and producer of electronic music. He is best known for his use of sampling. Tobin is also credited with helping to create the emerging "trip hop" genre in the late 1990s. He has released seven major studio albums since 1996 under the London-based Ninja Tune record label where he is considered one of their most successful artists.

In 2005, he created the musical score to Ubisoft's critically acclaimed and successful video game Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory as well as Sucker Punch's game Infamous. He is also noted for his entirely field-recorded album Foley Room, released in 2007. His music has been used in numerous major motion pictures including The Italian Job and 21. Tobin has created songs for several independent films, including the 2006 Hungarian film Taxidermia. A selection of his tracks were also featured in the 2005 anime, IGPX.

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