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coverpic flag Brazil - Full Moon 104 - 03/25/05

Amon Tobin
Splinter Cell 3 (Soundtrack)
Ninja Tune

This brazil native and legendary Ninja Tune drum-and-bass progenitor was hired by the Tom Clancy franchise to score a video game. How odd is that? Normally I would have no interest in a Tom Clancy Soundtrack but Amon Tobin is pretty sure to be good no matter what it is they're doing.

We open with bizarre strings and twinkly bells, but it doesn't take long for "The Lighthouse" to drop a funky-eyed bass guitar line. The strange strings continue throughout the song, allowing the bizarre mood to really set in. The drums don't come in until nearly the 3 minute mark, but when they do, they take this song and make it great. If I were playing that Tom Clancy game I'd probably stop playing the game and start listening to the music. More high pitched bells and quick guitar greet us in "Ruthless". The drums here aren't quite as good as in "The Lighthouse", but the sound is still very original and different from anything else I've ever heard. "Theme from Battery" promises to have a melody in forefront, since it's a theme. The theme is very rummy however, since Amon Tobin chooses one that is a combination of several sounds, rather than a single instrumental line. The wordless vocal sounds that are a part of that combination is eerie. The string arranging in this song probably grounds it more than anything else.

Track 4 continues with the eerie vocals. The background sounds almost industrial. One problem at this half-way point in the album is that the drum programming has still yet to beat the opening track. Thankfully, "El Cargo" steps back up to "The Lighthouse"'s level of quality, but unfortunately doesn't surpass it. The 7 minute long "Displaced" is a near miss. It's pretty boring and just covers the same ground that the rest of this soundtrack has covered in an overall interesting way. The thing that does save it, astonishingly, is the drum programming. The remaining 4 tracks play out in basically the same way as the first 6, this weird, industrial feeling holding tight. The final track is another 7 minute track, and thankfully it pulls out all of the stops. Track 10, "The Cleanup", is the finest track on this album and a great Amon Tobin song.

This album turns out to be a real odd-ball, but certainly not a dud. Some very interesting new material from one of the best electronic composers around.

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