I love Amon Tobin. He’s cool, his album art is always excellent, and he releases consistently brilliant albums. It’s fair to say he’s one of my favourite musicians around at the moment.
His last album ‘proper’ (though this does technically count) was 2002’s Out From Out Where, an album which took his trademark dark instrumental HipHop into realms of complexity putting him more on a par with a band like Fantômas than DJ Shadow.
Since then he’s released a collection of remixes and this, a soundtrack to the then-most recent in the Splinter Cell gaming franchise. As a result, some of the tracks are more mood-based than actual song, but as a whole it works.
As the emphasis has to be on what the gamer is doing at any one time, Tobin has reeled back the complexity for this album, focusing more on the atmospherics and solid rhythms. So ‘Kokubo Sosho Battle’ actually sounds like a tense boss fight. But I don’t know, as I haven’t played that game to find out.
It would be interesting to see how well the music lives in an interactive environment, where what plays is dependent on your actions, but as a linear listening experience, this is excellent percussive electronica which stands tall on its own merit.