Writers have tied themselves in knots trying to describe Amon Tobin's brand of dense, junglish invention. But "Four Ton Mantis," the title of a track off 2000's Supermodified, captures the Brazil-born, Brighton-bred producer's sensual menace better than any furrowed-browed jargon--his songs might all be described as funky, lumbering, cybernetic insects. Heir to the innovations of head-music high priests µ-Ziq and Autechre, in the late 90s Tobin followed the contrail of big-sound acts like the Future Sound of London. Since his 1997 breakthrough, Bricolage, he's steadily shed Brazilian, jazz, and drum 'n' bass elements for processed throb and outlandish orchestral accents. Tobin's most recent full-length, 2002's Out From Out Where, plunges further into silicon grime, raising sputtering machines from the depths in a richly textured, almost Romantic take on industrial disco. Tobin is a sampler on par with DJ Shadow, as gifted at mixing others' work as constructing his own; when these talents come together, as in "Back From Space," which sets motifs from Clair de lune and Pictures at an Exhibition to a burbling grind, it's something to behold--and unlike so many electronic acts, he's actually better live. Kid Koala, Bonobo, Blockhead, and Sixtoo open; the show's 18 and over. Sunday, March 21, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Carolyn Hayer.