Amon Tobin

Solid Steel Presents Amon Tobin: Recorded Live

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Leave it to Ninja Tune. Just as the volumes of their radio-session mix series Solid Steel began gaining enough steam to qualify as essential items for breakbeat fans (alongside headphones and an appropriate media player), they had to ruin it by stooping to a live album. Fans of bedroom boffinry had long looked to Solid Steel -- both the long-running show and the mix series -- for the best collections of rare grooves and samples, most of them honed to perfection prior to broadcast and release. But surprisingly enough, Amon Tobin, separated from the cozy confines of his studio and stranded in the middle of hundreds of rabid Australians, still managed to acquit himself quite nicely. This didn't happen entirely because of his turntable skills, though. Tobin utilized Final Scratch technology, which, roughly speaking, allows artists to manipulate computer files just as they would vinyl on a turntable. The effect of this on a DJ's set is the same as being able to transport thousands of records from venue to venue by means of a small suitcase (just don't lose that laptop!). Sporting more than its share of Tobin's own tracks, the disc functions as half mix album, half live show, and is very impressive once listeners understand Tobin's aims. Instead of the usual Solid Steel goal, warping young minds by layering track after track in a mix, Tobin searches out killer sounds and transforms them into greatness. Besides his own dense productions, he also displays a preference for multiple tracks of brutal tech-step, just the type of head trauma that he uses to construct his own innovative productions.

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