Amon Tobin – ISAM

<a href=”” title=”ISAM by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”ISAM”></a>

This is a new album by my favourite artist. It was scheduled to be released in one month’s time but it’s been moved up to now because of idiocy. Let me block-quote from the email,

Try as we might to protect our artists’ recordings until they’re ready to be released, create exciting campaigns to expose the leftfield/ interesting/ worthwhile music that we believe in, to the widest audience and on some of the smallest budgets, and sell enough records to keep doing so; some people just don’t get it. A nameless person who calls himself a journalist has decided that he, not us, is best placed to release the new Amon Tobin album, and to do so for free, online. We know these things happen, and we know that not everyone realises how much is invested in ambitious, groundbreaking tours, collaborations with brilliant artists and lovingly designed packaging… It still hurts. The man is not having it stuck to him. A faceless corporation is not being dealt a blow. All that happens is a lot of great ideas and music come under threat.

All of which is a long and frustrated way of saying that we’re moving forward the digital release of Amon Tobin’s masterpiece; ‘ISAM’. We know that for the fans who’ve taken the time to unearth music made for reasons other than pure commerce, hearing an album is available without actually hearing it is a slap in the face. We’d like everyone who’s invested that time and energy on the career of an artist like Amon Tobin to have the chance to own the album, in the form he and us intended, as soon as anyone else does. We’re sure you’ll see why we took so much care over it in the first place.

Unfortunately this is not the first time this is happened to Tobin. I recall that The Foley Room somehow got bootlegged months before it was ready too. Regarding this current situation, music journalism is hackwork at best and all they’re doing is driving the nails into their own coffin by doing this. Ninjatune should name and shame this individual if they are able to determine where the leaked copy came from and also stop sending advanced copies out to these so-called journalists. Let the web be the promotion.

So anyway, the 14 track album is available for digital purchase and d/load right now <a href=””>here</a> for only 8$ US, that’s only $7.45 Australian (LOL!). I just got it but haven’t listened yet and no doubt it’ll take a month or two to shape itself and for me to know how I feel about it.

Save to say that I’ve been listening to Amon Tobin’s work for over ten years and I’ve been meaning to write about him here just in the general sense because although they are very rare occurrences, my psyche has decided Tobin is the archetypal representation of The Artist in my dreams. A shadowy figure sometimes caught sight of on the periphery. The way I understand it is that the true artist lets their work shape their identity. Very few interviews and none of the ego and ‘all face-no substance’ approach that dominates today.

Addendum 5/5/11

I’ve listened a few times now. The last full album, The Foley Room, had lots of scuttling sounds. This one has less scuttling, a few more big sounds that sometimes approach chord sequences. And as a first ever, there are Amon Tobin songs with lyrics and people (an ethereal sounding woman) singing. All up kind of interesting but as with The Foley Room, it’s not exactly easy-listening. Eventually I will have listened to the album enough times that’ll have it’s own feel, but it doesn’t come easily or quickly.  I like it but I guess my personal preference is for the kind of sounds that Amon used to make on albums like Supermodified and the Chaos Theory soundtrack — a bit more 4 on the floor groove.

the movies are always groovy

Couple of films worth noting.

_Mikey & Nicky_ (1976) is something I came across via the beastie boys’ website.

<iframe title=”YouTube video player” width=”480″ height=”390″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

When watching it I thought there’s something a little odd about the scenes. Kind of reminded me of the way Lynch directs. Afterward I read on weeklepedia that the director, Elaine May, was basically insane and used more film in the shooting than was used in Gone wid da Wind. I guess she cajoled the two main actors into doing the same scenes 20 times over, with each take getting looser with the acting. That scuffle in the yootoob clip where Cassavetes slips over — you can’t act accidents like that.

_Suspiria_ (1977) is a film by an Italian director I only just heard of, Dario Argento.

<a href=”” title=”suspiria-2 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”378″ height=”298″ alt=”suspiria-2″></a>

Visually it was extremely rich and I love that. I’m guessing it was shot in some oldish buidings somewhere in northern Italy that look amazing; the detailing in the wood of the doors is one tiny example. It’s not a film set, it’s a real, bizarre place. And many of the actors were flat out weird looking. The audio had a strange quality because the (Italian) actors performed in English, but then in post-production, they dubbed native English (English and American) actors voices over it. The lip-syncing is okay but there’s no ambient noise in the shots.

The plot is actually pretty lame and follows the standard slasher-flick structure. Still interesting to look at.

<a href=”” title=”suspiria-3 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”230″ alt=”suspiria-3″></a>

12 o’clock high

<a href=”” title=”school-bombing by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”377″ alt=”school-bombing”></a>

“Do you know what was right in the middle of the area your entire group unloaded on? A school.”

I’m watching ’12 O’Clock High’ (1964) a TV series produced by Quinn Martin. I’ve liked other stuff he’s headed up because the quality of storylines are generally pretty good. An American bomber wing based in England during WW2. Kind of strange subject matter. I know the best war propaganda always comes out a good 15-20 years after the event but aerial bombing really is a horrible business. In episode 3, series 1, they’re pulling no punches when they accidentally bomb a Dutch school full of little Dutch kids.

Here’s a <a href=”″>podcast</a> on just how pointless and inaccurate aerial bombing was in WW2.


Here’s how change happens. One day you wake up and find out something else has been added. Like ‘Radiation’ becoming part of the weather forecast. Yesterday it was rain coming up from the south with a slim chance of radiation. Today it’s dust blowing in from the north-west with a greater chance of … radiation. It’s really blowing my mind, like I’m in a Philip K. Dick SF plot detailing a nasty future. I was thinking about going to the Seoul motoshow tomorrow, but it’s a bit far out of town and apparently a fair chunk of the new stuff is electric cars — not that exciting to look at. This is changing much faster than I thought it would too. The main car manufacturers seem to be dead-serious about getting these electric cars onto the roads and the first thing it makes me think of is, where are we going to get all this extra electricity from. Unfortunately, my guess is a lot of countries like s.korea and china will be building more nuclear power plants. I really hope Australia isn’t dumb enough to start building nuclear power plants.

I had this brainwave the other day. Why don’t they design solar energy collectors that are shaped like trees? It would depend on the photovoltaic cells being thin enough that some light could pass through, like with real leaves, but I think they (THEY) might already be onto this because I read something about producing a solar film that can be coated onto the outside of skyscrapers. Anyway, it would be more space-efficient than the flat, satellite-dish looking things that are common at the moment.

love marriage

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For my personal recordments I would like to say that yesterday, March 31st was the first day of the year that was not cold. That’s a long time to wait and it seems to be longer every year but I can never remember.

It’s international back-up your data day. Or maybe it was yesterday, but either way, it’s well worth observing. There’s nothing like a catastrophic data-wipe to ruin your week. These things can come out of nowhere and through circumstances that no one could imagine. Segue to the fukushima situation. Nevermind the human disposition to zone out, goof off or just plain fuck up, the real problem with nuclear power is brought home with this disaster. And that is that there is a million-billion variables of what can go wrong and we simple humans are not capable of thinking of them all, let alone having pre-planned solutions for them all.