Amon Tobin - Chaos Theory

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  • For years Amon Tobin’s industrial soundscapes have astonished with their power and invention, so it makes perfect sense for them to soundtrack a computer game. ‘Chaos Theory’ is the third instalment of Tom Clancy’s ‘Splinter Cell’ series of games, which will mean more to most of you than this non-gamer, but if all computer music tracks were this good I’d be more inclined to play them! Tobin approaches his score as if soundtracking a film, with recognisable threads that crop up throughout. You’d be hard pushed to whistle any of them in the street, but this is about much more than a good tune. There are some extraordinary textures and images, achieved through his knack of taking acoustic sounds and digitally manipulating them. A weird guitar here, a rush of strings there, all the time with his trademark broken beats never far from the action. When they come to the fore, as on the thrilling drum track for ‘Ruthless’, there is a rush of adrenalin, but Tobin also shows how well he can do without them in the uneasy breakdown of ‘Displaced’. Lalo Schifrin was a big influence in the making of this score, and it shows in the frenetic jazz workouts that pop up, but as well as this Amon adds plenty from his much travelled life, Brazil being one of the principal sources. If you play the game with the bass on full to catch the monumental lower register, you’ll more than likely get maximum enjoyment. Even if you don’t get the game, rest assured it’s an excellent new album on its own merits. Given that he’s virtually finished his next artist album proper, it’s a sign of rich creativity from a man whose music demands to be heard.