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Amon Tobin at HMV Hammersmith Apollo Review

Amon Tobin - Hammersmith Apollo

Watching Amon Tobin, electronic music guru, deliver his visual and aural spectacle ISAM 2.0 at Hammersmith Apollo on Friday, it was hard to distinguish where man ended and machine began.

Revered as one of the genre’s most influential masters, Tobin gave his last ever UK performance of his critically acclaimed show from the centre of a towering system of boxes.

Wearing a spacesuit, Tobin deftly steered ISAM 2.0 through his vast tunes with a mad-scientist like precision, while images of spaceships and the universe were projected onto the boxes. The music and images were woven together in such a way that they were one in the same, existing for and because of each other, and through the creativity of Tobin’s mind.

ISAM 2.0 dissected the origins and essence of electronic music. Alongside Tobin’s primitive/industrial-sounding beats, the images demonstrated that rhythms exist throughout the universe at every level – from the micro to the cosmic. We were allowed brief glimpses of Tobin working in his machine amongst projections of everything from atom-like beads of light bouncing to the rhythms, to a huge spaceship traversing the universe and exploring constellations.

There were also images of industrial machinery and futuristic landscapes, all confirming that Tobin’s beats mimic the rhythms of life – from the vibrations of atoms to machines that recreate the pulsing of the universe and further on to a future we don’t yet know but Tobin fantasises about.

Through ISAM 2.0, Tobin defines the role of the electronic artist – to capture and amplify the rhythms of life and disseminate them to, what was on Friday, a very appreciative audience.

And all that was only the first part of the show. After capturing the whole of the universe in one set, he briefly stepped out from behind his boxes to greet the cheering crowd before returning to his machine and starting a second set, accompanied by more abstract geometric shapes. That’s when the crowd really began to move and the party started – after all, what’s the point in the universe creating such rhythms if they’re not for dancing to.


By Hannah Masters-Waage


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