Brazilian-born Amon Tobin first emerged between 1994-1995 with a string of 12″ singles on the small London-based record label 9Bar Records. The album that followed, Adventures In Foam, paved the way for a whole generation of electronic productions and prompted his signing to the prodigious Ninja Tune in 1996. He has since gone on to record seven critically- acclaimed albums under his own name on Ninja that have since helped define the label as a force in musical innovation and diversity. In addition, Amon has produced a small number of radically diverse original scores ranging from George Palfi’s cult cinema oddity Taxidermia to Tom Clancy’s video game blockbuster Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.
An Acronym for “Invented Sound Applied to Music”, ISAM was an experiment in synthesizing field recordings and transforming them into new physically playable instruments to create unique sound palettes. From Amon’s own voice gender-modified to the sound a of a creaking chair mutated into a string ensemble, ISAM directs an academic approach in audio manipulation to a purely emotional musical context. This contrast is central to the album and represents a pivotal moment in Amon’s personal musical development. Sound design techniques previously used in film, as pioneered by the likes of Ben Burt (Star Wars, Wall-E) were utilized along side new ones Amon developed specifically for ISAM and applied in an unprecedented approach to music production.
The specific nature of the album demanded new thinking in terms of how to present it live and this in turn lead to an entirely new kind of music performance. ISAM Live is a hybrid of interactive cinema and a concert experience in which sound determines a narrative. Much like the album, the live show adapted existing and emerging technologies to new contexts. Projection mapping, which had up to then been largely the domain of static mostly corporate visual showcases, was configured for the first time to narrate the musical performance of an entire album. A giant cubic structure was built housing a control booth from which Amon could perform while providing an intricate canvas on to which a story was told as an audio reactive, three dimensional visual interpretation of the music being played.
ISAM Live reshaped audience’s expectations of electronic music concerts for years to come selling out the worlds most prestigious venues. From the Sydney Opera House to the Olympia in Paris to the London Hammersmith and LA’s Greek Theater ISAM Live received universal acclaim as a landmark in audio visual performance.