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Amon Tobin: “Splinter Cell Chaos Theory” Soundtrack Review

Amon Tobin, a well-known and respected man in his musical field of mad electronica spearheads a 10 song sensory overload that has become the Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Soundtrack.

Combining ambience, basslines to kill for and some mega foot stomping drum loops, the soundtrack weaves its way through a manic mental path to hedonism of the dancing senses. I’m not usually one to get madly to grips with such genres however the way its patched together makes for very interesting listening on occasion.

The opener “Lighthouse” melds the ambience and bass lines together to cause some kind of panic fury which never really explodes into a full-blown attack but clearly goes into a bedlam mode. A very clever way to skip around going for the normal route of things. “Ruthless” follows then really does explode into a huge drum n bass number with not much in the melodic department but all trousers in the drums. The percussive elements throughout the album are something to admire.

“Theme From Battery” is a beautiful yet haunting ambience piece, something I could see a band like Cocteau Twins almost doing – very surreal and dreamy. “Kokubo Sosho Stealth” continues the whole ambience theme with broken down drum loops and echoing vocals but is not as successful as creating a timeless space as the previous track. “El Cargo” is completely reliant on its funky basslines and echoes of an almost gospel sounding choir. “Displaced” is full of discord from the word go. Random little quirks of instrumentation are set to an uptempo drum beat which is interesting but not entirely listenable too unless you’re into the genre!

“Ruthless (Reprise)” is much better in this version that the previous one. Almost low-fi in presence, it just has so much more structure and poise to it! “Kukubo Susho Battle” too is better than its similar predecessor just but having a rhythm to its madness and getting on with it! There’s some mean parts to it in places with some electric guitar fits and starts too. “Hokkaido” sadly doesn’t get going, a bit like a lost and best forgotten Silent Hill gone techno track. “The Clean Up” rounds off the album with a bit of everything that had gone before it and makes for a very good track indeed! Some superb use is made of orchestration and drum montages too.

This album is such a hard one to judge. It is technically unique in its sound (Sudeki cross Silent Hill cross Metal Gear Solid prehaps?) however it doesn’t always hit the spots required to say that it should have a standout place in the VGM World. If you’re after something that’s very eclectic and electronic – you could do much worse than this album, or if you should see it cheap then I’d recommend it. It certainly will gain a foothold in your audio mindscape and maybe over time and many listens will grow on you . However a melding of many different genres does not necessarily mean it will please any of the follows of them.

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