Amon Tobin

Chomp Samba

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Amon Tobin is one of the most difficult-to-categorize musicians to come from the world of jungle and electronic music, but this early EP illustrates the fact that he is also one of the best. The title track bristles forth with pulsing drum rhythms and a propulsive jungle feel, and the swollen background noises add color and tones to the breakneck drum syncopations. Spacy samples leak further into the mix on "Creatures," and stop-start beats call attention to the melange of sounds that flutter in the background before the song drifts into a phased-out finale of sampled strings and chimes. Fragmented loops of jazzy bass mix with similarly complicated beats on the reverb-soaked "Shiny Things," and the drums drop in and out of the mix unexpectedly, never doing what is expected. The closing "Daytrip" is a more trip-hop-oriented number with horn samples floating above a rolling but lackadaisical percussive frame. Tobin's later work takes a stronger dose of jazz into its structures, but the loose instrumental accompaniment on this track gives a clear view of this imminent stylistic progression. All four of the tracks hover around the six-minute mark, but to the composer's credit, none ever become particularly repetitive or tedious. Tobin creates a compelling musical landscape, and his use of numerous instrumental styles merits even his earliest work being placed at the top of the genre.

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