To try and put Amon Tobin‘s performance of his newest studio set into words would be a BIG feat, much like his show. So, in lieu of stumbling over inappropriate verbiage to describe the experience that ISAM is live, I’ll kick this review off by saying that the hour-long stunner (in case you’ve not already seen the other YouTube bootlegs out there) began with about 20 minutes of this…
…and continued to get better. That’s horribly inarticulate, and one realizes it to be the case (if you turn the volume up on the above vid to the max you might just the simulated idea), but how do you explain to someone how genius and perfectly expressed a piece of art is unless they’ve had a personal experience with it? You can’t, and I think in building a seamless sound and visual projection system that, and I am not hyperbolizing, gave Daft Punk’s AV people a run for their money, the very point Amon Tobin is trying to make is that the only “real” experience is one that’s had in person.
Now, before I dissolve into a flurry of photos, two things. One, ISAM is not “I SAM” its “IS AM”, meaning the message of the record points at the direct relationship between “nature” and “presence in the moment”. Conversely, as one would expect an analog experience to be, the highly digitized, entirely synthesized experience that is ISAM live, is an inversion of that very relationship. The live show exposes, completely, the artifice and metaphor that is the removed digital space we navigate daily. Two, everything is possible when humor is present. I say this because the instructions for last nights show (sorry Amon), were somewhere along the lines of “do not take pictures of the cock pit” et al. Yes there really was a cockpit, and no it wasn’t a Freudian slip. Tobin literally sat (not pictured) in a booth at the center of a giant grid of blank cubes, every so often lighting up his deck from the inside to show you that the journey of ISAM was in fact being helmed by a very real, very present ship captain.
OK, here are some photos
ISAM is out now via Ninja Tune and you can catch Tobin’s ingenious presentation through to the end of the year.