Good music should always be enjoyed as a soundtrack -- tunes that could be spliced into parts of a day to intermingle with the ebb and flow of mundane routines and intimate relations. Any decent album can shift your brain into movie mode, allowing fantastical landscapes and unnatural situations to be edited and re-edited. Amon Tobin wears the hats of both musician and director on his latest breakbeat gathering, Out from Out Where.
Tobin's career has progressed and matured, climaxing with 2000's chaotic Supermodified. His new offering drops the experimental tones but stays firmly entrenched in the "fantasy music" realm. But don't go thinking Tolkien or D&D. The Brazilian-born Tobin paints exotic and otherworldly landscapes with orchestral samples à la Morricone. This cinematic fodder keeps the beats familiar, but something menacing always lurks beneath, shining like a pair of inhuman eyes through a subway grate, as the twinkling stars of the galaxy play above. Out from Out Where employs the cinematic equivalent of a split screen, balancing elements of trippy free jazz over thick, ominous bass lines and sampling.
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The jungle rhythms of "Triple Science," the haunting minor-key "El Wraith," and the sped-up romp of "Verbal" all showcase Tobin's talent for micromanaging while whipping together an appetizing ice cream headache of sounds. The album does tend to drag in a few parts and fails to get a leg up on his previous works. But like any good soundtrack, it creates an atmospheric transcendence, where anything -- and everything -- can happen.