Amon Tobin at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 8/4/12 (review)By Billy Thieme | September 5th, 2012 | No Comments »
Photography alone couldn’t catch it — Amon Tobin’s unique electronic live masterpiece is best both seen and heard to feel its full effect. In as beautiful a venue as the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, his show Tuesday was incomparable. Light-play, images and bits of collaged psychedelia incorporated seamlessly with the performance of his latest album, “Isam,” and then some.
The centerpiece was a giant contraption made of hundreds of cubes, on which synchronized lights, animations and illustrations were projected from multiple angles, creating a revolutionary, otherworldly medium. Tobin, decked in a spacesuit (sans bubble helmet) manipulated electronics from a large cube in the center, usually hidden from view behind animations flailing across the stage, a few times revealed by a glow from within.
Photos, below, from a 2011 performance at the Ogden Theatre
After “Journeyman” began pulsating at 10:45 p.m., the onslaught didn’t stop until midnight. In that time, the Ellie was completely transported by hundreds of films, all being projected at once. At times the cubes glowed like embers, and then exploded into stars or shining moths, all with perfect musical syncopation. Each cube then became a cabinet, inside of which were shadowboxed worlds. Some featured human skeletons with dragonfly wings, others showed complex collections of dancing scissors and the like.
Later, the contraption was forced together into an impossible spaceship, cruising through waves of light before cutting away to a jet-engine-powered factory-scape, splayed and pounding across impossible angles.
Right before midnight, Tobin came out from his cubescape and stood on the stage, accepting a standing ovation and shaking hands, still decked in the spacesuit. He gestured that he’d grant us one more, and climbed back around and into the dimly lit box, shedding the spacesuit on the way. He closed with a stunning encore that lasted nearly 30 minutes before finally bidding the audience farewell.