ISAM (Invented Sounds Applied to Music) is the seventh full-length studio album by Brazilian electronic musician Amon Tobin.
Re-drawing and blurring the lines between psychedelia and sci-fi, between art and entertainment, between sound design and melody, Amon Tobin has created the finest, most intense work of his very considerable career, an extension and refinement of everything he has achieved thus far, a crowning achievement in the process that he describes as “re-ordering the things around me.”
His music career has evolved from the Latin style of 1997’s Bricolage to the abstract Supermodified of 2000, Out From Out Where in 2002, that led to video game company Ubisoft Montreal headhunting him to score the soundtrack for their critically successful Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory series, an album that blew the doors off the world of video game soundtracks.
He spent 2006 traveling up and down the west coast of America with an omnidirectional microphone collecting source material, and then in 2007 he teamed up with the Kronos Quartet to release the organically sonic Foley Room that was so deep with layers and tones that it required its own custom sound system for the tour, at Amon’s insistence.
Then after another video game score, sound design work for BBC’s Top Gear, and commercial work for Nissan, he began his newest venture: ISAM or Invented Sounds Applied to Music.
This album marks a significant evolution in Amon Tobin’s sound due to the absence of vinyl samples and trademark jazz-oriented breaks. As with 2007’s Foley Room, a prominent element of the sound is heavily-processed field recordings obtained from a variety of unexpected sources. However ISAM goes a step further in that it features a much more unorthodox palette of sounds than before, with these sounds being arranged in close, intricately edited patterns.
Tobin has described the album as a “sound sculpture” and said that his intent is to move forward from the aesthetics of his previous work. A 50-minute mix of tracks from ISAM featuring insightful track-by-track commentary by Tobin himself can be heard on Soundcloud.