Review of Amon Tobin's ISAM live at Manchester Academy on 19 May 2012

I felt very lucky to visit Manchester to witness Brazilian musician Amon Tobin's 'ISAM' tour. Amon Tobin has spent most of his life in the UK amongst a free thinking electronic landscape that paved the way for many progressive and compelling releases. His recent 'ISAM' album has a tour, 'ISAM' live, that certainly continues Tobin's standing as a pioneer, innovator and contemporary artist.

Amon Tobin

Amon Tobin's contribution to music has been evolutionary. His understanding of contemporary sounds, production techniques and electronic musical progression has paved a creative experimental space that is profound and inspirational. Certainly, independent record label Ninja Tunes respected his vision and, with the advent of technology, Tobin's work continues to become more relevant, recognised and respected. His 'ISAM' show must have been a dream come true for him, as to provide a visual landscape to match his unique sound was always going to be interesting. Indeed, the visuals are just as compelling as the sounds!

It's always great to visit a historic music place like Manchester to witness a gig like no other I've seen before. The crowd was inquisitive, enthralled and there was a real mix of different types of people there. Bottom line, this was a new experience for everyone and appreciated by all. Don't get me wrong, this was no picnic in the park. Anyone who's heard Amon Tobin's work will know it can be challenging, provoking and seriously heavy at times. The sound system was set up perfectly for a brutal onslaught of industrial smashes, but then to ethereal dreamy landscapes. It was truly an involved experience, with Tobin buried in the specially created stage construction to beam the most amazing light show I think I've ever witnessed. With the music syncopated with the visuals and Tobin appearing from time to time playing live the whole way through, this was experimental at its best!

'ISAM' live was certainly not your typical gig. This was a contemporary art piece designed for the progressive listener and modern artist. Each encore that Tobin performed raised the bar even more. He brought the heaviest sound of drum & bass, to breaks and ambient electronica, with the light show always becoming more astonishing! I think the crowd got different experiences from watching 'ISAM' live as it wasn't a rave to me where everyone could dance, more an exhibition from a futuristic artist for us to create our own experience to take home with us. It certainly was inspiring and a real treat to witness. Compelling stuff!

Tareck Ghoneim

Official Site -