on 5 June 2003
21st century Jazz? Classical Drum and Bass?
I really don't quite know how to describe Amon Tobin's unique style, I don't think you can really pigeonhole it. It's a musical mish-mash of heavily Jazz-influenced ecclectic beats, but mixed in a stunningly precise modern fashion.
From my rather muddled description above, you're probably thinking it sounds like a complete mess, and I'd tend to agree with you. Upon first listening to this album, I wasn't massively impressed; I instantly liked a couple of tracks, notably "Nightlife" which is a stunning blend of orchestral breakbeat mayhem. But the rest of the album, just like "Out from Outwhere", seemed all rather noisy and confused.
But perhaps that is part of the magic that makes me play this CD time and time again. As you listen for the third, fourth time you start to really unravel it's hidden depths and catch a glimpse of the world inside Amon Tobin's twisted mind...
If, like me, you have wide musical tastes but aren't completely averse to electronica, buy it. Then listen to it. Then listen to it again. Maybe once more. Then you'll see what I mean - it's big, it's scary, it's damn complicated and it's an absolute masterpeice.
on 9 April 2001
Ok so here I am saying how this is my favourite album ever etc etc well I know that doesn't mean much (though p'raps a little?!) to you but this album - it's just so amazingly good! If you've heard any of Amon Tobin's other albums, then this serves as a mediator in style as it does chronologically: the manic, furious breaks and production from Bricolage feature prominently yet the depth and tone of Supermodified are also apparent but, generally, the album has more in common with the excellent but ultimately inferior Bricolage album of 1997. Permutations is very accessible and since hearing it loads (well a few!) of friends have bought it for whom Tobin is not a typical music taste. However, this aspect detracts absolutely nothing form the musical mastery and ingenuity of the album which is unequalled. It is, overall, a predominantly dark, innovative jazz-breakbeat fusion with no weak tracks and moreover that quality where as you listen to each track, you feel sure that that one has to be the best on the album - until you listen to the next track which sounds even better! If you are still unsure about it, just click on buy and if you somehow manage not to love it to bits then you can always take it back - only that won't happen! Standout tracks for me, if pushed, are Sultan Drops, Reanimator and Nightlife - which commences with a fairy-tale like ambience (not without enigma though!) which is suddenly cut short by a striking discord - (getting darker!) - then the fairy-tale tune again, then the introduction and eventual consumption of the epic track by increasingly dense breakbeats. Ok so now I'm confusing you but listen for yourself you WILL comprendez! One final warning: once heard you will enter Tobin's fantastic world and have to acquire his other two breathtaking albums, but fear not for you wont be disappointed.
on 21 March 2000
AAAAaaaaarrrggghhhh! Buy this now! You won't regret it, and even if it isn't quite your cup of tea it'll be great for showing off to friends/scaring grandparents etc. If you've never heard of this before you'll find a wealth of funky jazz mixed with Amons own blend of intimidating drum and bass. Not for the faint hearted or for listening to by yourself after dark. A bit like the mu-ziq in a Parisian Cafe or Aphex Twin in the mood for lurve.
on 7 May 2007
How often do you find an album in which there are no 'filler' tracks? Answer: very rarely. This is one of those albums.
As someone else said in another review, ignore all of the myths you've heard about drum 'n bass being mindless and for junkies. Amon Tobin is much cleverer than that, and as a result, the album contains a mix of everything. Drum 'n bass with menacing 'melody' lines, jazz which could have come straight out of a 30's jazz club had it not had a heavy, but catchy beat laid down on top of it, and even a bit of bossa nova and other brazilian music styles, hailing back to Tobin's birthplace.
Its getting on for 9 years since this was released, but i'd still listen to it rather than the trash that gets put in the charts today. Another bit of proof that commercially successful stuff doesn't always equal good listening.
Just for the record, my faves are 'Bridge' for its jazziness and 'People like Frank' for being one of the darkest tunes i've ever heard in my lifetime. I think it could be time for a re-release for 'Permutation'. Its what it deserves.