Amon Tobin - Roundhouse, London
The release of Amon Tobin’s most recent album Isam saw him moving away from the more jazz-flecked samples of previous records, and instead features intensely intricate and almost industrial sounding pieces that pummel the listener’s senses. To reflect that he has also developed a brand new stage set in collaboration with V Squared Labs, and tonight sees that show take over the hallowed Roundhouse venue in London.
With the black curtain lifted, a strangely shaped white sculpture engulfs the entire stage and before the crowd even has time to think what it might mean, the eerie strings and resounding beats of ‘Journeyman’ kick in as the 3D sculpture comes to life in a blur of colour and shape-shifting, mechanical beauty. Perfectly synched with the twists and turns of the music itself, it has the audience transfixed from the very beginning, so much so that when Amon Tobin himself appears inside a transparent cube within the sculpture, it takes a while for the eyes to realise it is actually him.
‘Bedtime Stories’ drifts into the room like a sort of robotic lullaby, while ‘Wooden Toy’ sees the strange female vocals embodied by a giant digitised woman’s mouth that wraps around the stage. It’s not just the new tracks that benefit from the brand new visuals however, as he gives a brilliant rendition of ‘Slowly’ from Supermodified that melds itself to the flowing, watery movement on stage, before breaking the serene feeling with his violent remix of Noisia’s ‘Machine Gun’. After closing with ‘Dropped From The Sky’, the final cut from Isam, he returns to the stage for a brief DJ set which gives the crowd a chance to flex their muscles. Appearing on stage in front of the sculpture before his encore, you really get a sense of the size of the spectacle, and the effort which must have gone in to producing a visual element which joins so seamlessly with the music. Tonight Amon Tobin raised the bar for electronic musicians everywhere, sucking the audience in to a world like no other.
Photos credited to: Frazer Waller