Amon Tobin – Dark Jovian

3 out of 5

Produced by: Amon Tobin

Label: Ninja Tune Records

Given how atmospherics have crept into Tobin’s work as he’s gone along – up through Foley Room and then ISAM, the latter especially so – it’s exciting to hear that he’d decided to give the element a full go on Dark Jovian, a riff on (according to wiki) science exploration films, a la John Williams, or Jerry Goldsmith.  Unfortunately, I wish he’d gone a bit further with it.  The tracks that really hit home are those that feel the most immersive: In Your Own Time appropriately overwhelms thanks to an extra layer of immensely distorted vocals, and followup Adrastea Contact masterfully slips between ominous and awe, just as its beat appears and disappears.  Elsewhere, the opening title track does a fair (if underwhelming) job of introducing some of the EP’s sounds: the bubbly distortion, the sudden occurrence of a lone beat, but the concluding tracks about Io don’t seem to appropriately peak, the concluding song actually hitting a full stop, rather disruptively, to try and start again with a couple of minutes to go.

The ‘remixes’ don’t add much, not really rearranging Tobin’s work in any (to my ears) notable way.

Dark Jovian’s atmospherics are interesting, and listened to as its own entity, without awareness of Tobin’s skills, intriguing.  But knowing how affecting his work can be, and then hearing that possibility fulfilled on a couple of the tracks, it makes one wish that Amon had pushed the recording even further.