Amon Tobin – Fear in a Handful of Dust


And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
T. S. Eliot “The Wasteland”


Three people sit at a bar. The grizzly-bear-looking motherfucker slams his beer down and bellows, “I’ve fought the world’s greatest predators and won. I’ve survived the worse elements this world has to offer and survived.” The eye-patched woman slams her beer down and yells, “I’ve ventured deep into the other side and defeated demons you can’t even comprehend. Not once have I lost my sanity.” A frail looking motherfucking audiophiliac sips gently from a mug and whispers, just loudly enough for the rest of the bar to hear, “I’ve listened to Amon Tobin’s entire discography”, the frail audiophiliac holds up a single finger to silence the room’s gasp, then finishes their phrase, “twice”. The eye-patched woman’s eyes roll back as she foams at the mouth. The grizzly-bear man wails mournfully into the wooden bar until it stains with salt. The motherfucking audiophiliac looks off in the distance, takes another sip, and sighs.

Amon Tobin doesn’t make music, he creates motherfucking experiences.

If you’re a fan like me, you’ve been waiting for this shit like a shopaholic outside a department store on a cold Black Friday morning. It’s been eight fucking years since Amon’s last album. EIGHT! And fans like me continued to wait because Amon is one of the reigning kings in the land of Electronic music. This dude fucking rules. If you’re expecting some basic bitch club thump-heavy hits, this isn’t your jam. Amon isn’t a DJ, he’s a fucking composer. You won’t find a single kick drum or snare on this album. I promise. Amon went off the beat-in path with his 2011 release, ISAM. When he did this, he lost fans. But Amon didn’t give a fuck. His focus has always been on the art. You want boundaries? Play fucking football. You want experience? This is your album.

The album’s moods are varied. The ideas are fucking legion, lengthy, and come out as one single fucking stream. I found myself laughing out loud, panicky, and nostalgic in a span of a minute. Motherfucker runs deep. This is Amon at his most untethered and it’s as awesome as it is out there. If you’re new to his world, you may have to go back through his discography to understand his signature sound and moods. If you do this, I advise you to buckle the fuck up and prepare. These audio trips visit some strange fucking places. You won’t be the same coming out as you were going in. When you finish, you can tell eye-patch and grizzly-bear I fucking said so.

The name of this album speaks wonders to its tracks and Amon’s intent. Dude doesn’t need to go big to make intellectually stimulating music. He can take a few strange sounds and augment them in that perfect not-right way to show you an entire fucking galaxy. On a shallow listen, this sounds like a bunch of alien noises without a beat. If you listen deep and are knowledgeable in the ways of Tobin, this shit opens up like a slutty egg. Amon can inspire fear, panic, and joy with a handful of materials. But why would Amon make his music so strange and complex instead of the shit everyone loved? For the same reason T. S. Eliot wrote a long fucking poem called “The Wasteland”. Eliot thought society at large was turning into dumb sacks of shit. Everything was spoon sized. Nothing was difficult. If someone didn’t get it right away, it was considered “bad”. Sound familiar? So Eliot decided to write one of the world’s most important English poems to be as long, confusing, and fucking freaky as possible. Eliot didn’t give a fuck if you didn’t get it the first time. He expected you to go to a fucking library to figure it out. Amon is no different. If you don’t get what he’s doing here, keep trying. These pieces aren’t spoon sized. Also, there’s no fucking spoon.


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