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Aural fusion



WHO: Amon Tobin

WHERE: Maxx Fish

WHEN: Tuesday, March 6

Have you ever drifted off with your headphones on, to find that music in your dreams? Close your eyes. Amon Tobin will take you on a dark yet enlightening journey.

To categorize the music of this Brazilian DJ as acid jazz seems too outdated and not nearly sophisticated enough for his intricate mix. His fourth CD, Supermodified , is a jazz-influenced exploration into underground electronics. Tobin says the title is an accurate one for his experimentation with everyday sounds. You’ll find motorbikes and tubas in the bass line and a particularly interesting use of spitting and farting as breaks.

"A lot of the sounds on this album were from the same sources (as the previous albums) but they were modified a bit more. I didn’t want to make the same album over again and again," Tobin said. "I just try to find things that interest me and motivate me to build up around it."

If you were to break down the various components of any one of Tobin’s songs you would find a mix of samba, R&B, jazz and hip hop, not to mention his creative use of various household items. Very few people have the insight or courage to pile all of those elements into one track.

"I suppose it comes from the fact I have a diverse interest in different styles of music. I really don’t discriminate. I’ll go into a record shop to look for samples and you’ll find me in the Prague rock section as much as the jazz section. Even though I might not particularly like rock, there are sounds in there that can be used and stripped and isolated."

And his multi-genre music seems to appeal to a diverse crowd of listeners. Tobin’s third CD, Permutation , was the best-selling album of 1998 in New York’s renowned Other Music Store, outselling such hard-hitters as Bjork and Massive Attack.

"I’m doing all of this out of my bedroom… so when you hear about your album in the same context as those big names it is very surprising. I think it’s a testament to people not being so led by mainstream media, or whoever is telling them what they should listen to, and going out and thinking for themselves."

That sound also seems to translate well into his live shows, especially in Canada. Although others have criticized Canada’s DJ scene for being underdeveloped, Tobin says his progressive style is actually very warmly received.

If Amon Tobin is a new name to you, be sure to check out his Web site, amontobin.com. Rarely does a home page so accurately represent an artist’s style. Each page is an adventure with shifting shadows and images in motion. The sounds keep you on edge and unwilling to turn back.

"A lot of the graphics originated from the artwork on the CD," he said. "And the noises are taken from a lot of my tracks. It’s all really interconnected."

And if Amon Tobin’s music is new to you, be sure to check out his audio chemistry at Maxx Fish. Attempting to re-create all these elements live could be disastrous for any other DJ. With Amon Tobin, it’s bound to be explosive!