While the great majority of jazz-junglists look no farther back than the mid-'60s for inspiration (and samples), Tobin took his bag of tricks back into the swing era to come up with more (and more interesting) variations on the form than most anyone else. More Buddy Rich than Roy Ayers, Permutation sees leagues of different drum samples -- all of them found sounds-- with nary an Amen or Apache break in sight. From the detuned vibes and piano loops that drive the opener "Like Regular Chickens" to the Disney-on-acid "Nightlife," Tobin proves himself one of the ablest producers around. As on most indie-junglists' LPs, there are a couple of notable darkside tracks ("Reanimator," "Escape," "People Like Frank") but even here he shows himself superior to contemporaries like µ-Ziq. As the title suggests, Permutation is an incredibly varied ride.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush