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Amon Tobin – Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory O.S.T.

Amon Tobin - Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory O.S.T.

CD, Ninja Tunes, 2005

The name Amon Tobin doesn’t need many introductions among the older followers of the electronic scene, with genre-defining releases such as “Supermodified”, “Out of Outwhere” and “Permutations” under his belt, along with a status and fanbase comparable to the likes of AphexTwin. So, has he sold out, succumbing so low in the search of dough that he can only compose action game soundtracks? “No” would be a good answer. “Fuck no!” would be a better one, after giving this album a listen, or to be precise, after managing to press the “stop” button.
Powerful, hectic, dark, impressive, these adjectives don’t seem to do justice to the force that this album is. Apparently, Ubisoft Canada (a company that’s been churning out some impressive videogames in the past years) pretty much gave Tobin funds and a license to kill, or more precisely, run amok and do whatever he wants. And to our listening delight, that’s precisely what he did.
The range and complexity of sounds and organs in this album is staggering, but it’s the bass strings that reign supreme in most tracks, their organic and heavy sound adding depth and a dark, menacing tinge to the drum backdrops that range from pace-setting atrack to outright screaming “action scene” with their furious intensity. While somewhat subdued, the jazz influences evident in most former Amon Tobin releases are far from gone in this one, especially the feel of improvisation that seems to pour out from the tracks at times, as seemingly random bits of keys, strings and drums just click together above the ambience, raging through your speakers like a storm, right between moments of eerie calm.
While the CD edition should be enough for most folk, the real treats are the 5.1 surround DVD edition (which sounds just f***ing amazing in a good system) and the vinyl with the fold-out poster/inlay, making a good thing even better. With this album, you probably won’t even need the game to enjoy some intense quality time.


— George Mouratidis

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