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Live Review: Amon Tobin Sydney Opera House

4 June 2012 | 12:34 pm | Andrew Wowk

The whole set peaked and dipped at exactly the right moments, with lush, emotive pieces such as Lost And Found, which featured an uber-cool pulsing wave emanating across pools of lava each time there was a clap in the track

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ISAM Live: Beyond 3D was more than just the playing of Amon Tobin's latest album with some obligatory trippy visuals added. It was a clearly well-planned, deeply though-out project that intended to make ISAM an experience (even on subsequent listens at home without the stage setup) rather than simply an album. And it definitely achieved that. Every single layer of sound, from the crushing kick drums to the eye-wobbling sub bass and crisp, clean, processed field recordings came to life through the Opera House's crystal clear system, while the giant “Tetris-game-on-acid-multiple-cubes-cage-of-death” had mind-bending visuals projected onto every surface of it, with even the most minute of details syncing up with some aspect of the music.

Most of ISAM was played in the order it appears on the album, occasionally interspersed with older material, but regardless of its age, pretty much every track was heavily edited and reworked so as to give the performance a unique feeling. Journeyman opened the show beautifully, with a series of electrical sparks snaking up from the floor, simulating the show “powering up”, while Horsefish (Live Mix) rounded out the second encore in a flurry of plucked strings and cubes forming and collapsing until they crumbled and blew off stage, engulfed in blue flames. The whole set peaked and dipped at exactly the right moments, with lush, emotive pieces such as Lost And Found, which featured an uber-cool pulsing wave emanating across pools of lava each time there was a clap in the track, providing downtime between heavy monsters like Mass And Spring, complete with visuals of pounding hydraulic machinery every time the bass thundered through the speakers.

And if that wasn't enough, two encores, one of which was entirely comprised of Tobin DJing hard drum'n'bass (ten points for Limewax's One Of Them), meant nobody left feeling they didn't get their money's worth. The bar has been set for combined audio-visual shows.