Category: Amon Tobin

Amon Tobin's 3-D stage show touches down in L.A.

Amon Tobin's ISAM live show

It’s not often that a performance by a world-renowned DJ leaves fans speechless instead of sweaty. But that seemed to be the goal of experimental producer-DJ AmonTobin the moment he decided to take the live show for his latest album, "ISAM" (released April 19 on Ninja Tune) into the visual realm.

“The show really isn’t about rocking the dance floor and getting people in the froth,” Tobin said. “It seems like some people come expecting a DJ set, and what I end up seeing in the audience is this kind of mesmerized stare. In this case, you couldn’t ask for a better response really.”

Employing a 25-foot cube-carved stage structure as a canvas, the live presentation of Tobin’s ambient electronic  opus takes audiences on a 3-D journey through sci-fi psychedelic landscapes while bending the boundaries of time and space. The result is a world where fire, ice and plumes of smoke commingle with heavenly constallations and the mayhem of futuristic thrillers like "Blade Runner" and "The Fifth Element." Premiering at Montreal’s Mutek festival in June, Tobin's traveling behemoth commands more than four tons of gear, a sizable crew and some of the most advanced visual technology to date.

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Ninja Tune takes over the Echoplex, offers exclusive download of Amon Tobin's 'Foley Room, Live in Brussels' mix

300px-ninja_tune Consider the six-disc Ninja Tune box set something of a victory lap. After all, the London imprint's reputation as one of most influential and innovative electronic labels of the last 20 years has been long secured.

Founded in 1990 by DJ's Matt Black and Jonathan More (who record as Coldcut), Ninja Tune has spent the last two decades establishing a far-flung aesthetic that encompasses IDM, hip-hop, jazz, dubstep, drum n' bass, and lounge music.

In the process, it's developed its own sound: blunted and smooth bass music, best listened to with headphones. But don't mistake the politesse for stasis. Though Ninja Tune's bold-faced names (Amon Tobin, Bonobo, Cinematic Orchestra, The Herbaliser) are often venerated for their ability to craft soundtracks to imaginary movies that exist exclusively on the wobbly reel in your mind, the label has cultivated a restless streak that makes it impossible to pigeonhole (for more on this, head here).  

From their sister label Big Dada, which has released seminal underground rap records by Roots Manuva, King Geedorah (MF Doom) and cLOUDDEAD, to other offshoots including experimental electronic imprint Ntone and the rock-geared Counter Records, the Ninjas have reveled in a tasteful eclecticism that established the template for labels like Stones Throw and Hyperdub.

The Ninja Tune XX compilation reveals the depth of the label's Rolodex and the peerlessness of its reputation. The box set not only assembles every elite Ninja Tune artist, it attracts like-minded souls ranging from underground hip-hop pioneer El-P to garage progenitor El-B. On Saturday night, the traveling Ninja squad reaches the Echoplex, boasting performances from turntablist extraordinaire Kid Koala, Amon Tobin, Toddla T and Cut Chemist. And in a show of its deep-rooted similarities to the Low End Theory crew, Dr. Strangeloop will be handling visuals. It's your best bet for a happy Halloween.

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