- Now up to volume number 4 in the Solid Steel Mixed Live series, Ninjatune are proud to present Amon Tobin's take on this genre-smashing, eye-opening compilation series. What's different about Amon Tobin's mix is that it was recorded live in Melbourne, Australia in December 2003 and done completely off Stanton's Final Scratch software. For those who aren't familiar with Final Scratch, it involves a program installed on a PC (preferably a laptop for portability) and two specially made time-coded vinyls which are used to manipulate MP3's and other compatible sound files on the laptop. This means that DJ's are able to record all their music onto laptop into digital format and travel around doing gigs with a laptop and use the clubs' DJ turntable setup to mix and play music. For his Solid Steel mix, Amon's taken breakbeat and drum'n'bass that's heavy on the funk and thrown in many exclusive Amon Tobin tracks, that listeners would only be able to hear during a live set. Good thing he's recorded this one for all to hear.
An enthusiatic Melbourne crowd opens up the mix, showing their appreciation for a man whose just travelled halfway across the world to play for them before Amon rips out some dark, dirty bass and heavy industrial breakbeats. His own Chronic Tronic gets mixed in next with a loop of DJ Food's classic Dark Lady featuring the very familiar bassline that was also used in Bomb The Bass' Bug Powder Dust from 10 years ago.
Tipper's Twister brings in more warped out, twisted breakbeats - elements of familiar old skool funk breaks are mashed together with quirky bass lines that Tipper is known for. AFX's Remix By AFX sounds like a bootleg mashup of the Duwali break that became the basis for Lumidee's "Uh Oh" track and other classic hip hop samples before continuing with abstract jazz beats on Pressure Cooker by the Cherrystones.
Tobin then speeds up the tempo to drum'n'bass territories with Danny Breaks' experimental Science Fu Part 1 combining funk guitar riffs and hip hop vocal samples with uptempo jazz breaks. Facs & Scythe's Schmalla goes on a heavily percussive drum'n'bass tip featuring a dirty Reese fuzz bassline and plenty of drum fills to boot, right before Tobin brings out a Latin percussion breakdown on Couger Merkin.
Cuba by T-Power rinses out more tech-funk drum'n'bass action before Tobin gets into his first medley of Tobin productions beginning with Yasawas which drops the tempo to half speed drum'n'bass; Nightlife keeps the same downtempo pace (with hints of D&B drum fills) featuring a Hawaiian influenced guitar melody before ending the first medley with Escape on a quirky D&B tip.
UK speed rapper Dizzee Rascal gets an inclusion with Sittin Here and he's spitting quick rhymes faster than you can say "What the hell is he rapping about?" Tobin then gets into his second and final medley, again dropping the beats down the half tempo on Proper Hoodige and does a mash up mix of his own Four Ton Mantis with Hey Blondie before finishing off the mix with classic 70's rock from The Velvet Underground's Venus In Furs - a group who've influenced the likes of R.E.M, Brian Eno and the Blue Oyster Cult.
Amon Tobin is widely known for his take on drum'n'bass and abstract electronic breaks. His albums Bricolage and Supermodified have all been released on Ninjatune to critical acclaim and releases under his Cujo moniker have also been widely accepted by the electronic music masses. Tobin's Solid Steel affirms the fact that he's not only able to produce good, groundbreaking music but also play a rocking DJ set (as can be heard by the highly receptive Melbourne crowd in the background). Solid Steel by Tobin is yet another must-have release in the ever expanding series and here's hoping that Coldcut or Mr. Scruff will do exactly the same for the next one.