Amon Tobin brings ‘ISAM’ to the Greek 

click to enlarge Really big show: With help from Bay Area technology experts, Amon Tobin created a one-of-a-kind, projection-mapped, electronic music experience. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Really big show: With help from Bay Area technology experts, Amon Tobin created a one-of-a-kind, projection-mapped, electronic music experience.

Marin-based electronic music producer Amon Tobin hits another career high Friday when he brings the maximally awesome “ISAM: Live” show to the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, with openers Kronos Quartet.

The Greek is huge. Kronos’ reputation is impeccable. And Amon’s hit road show is so massive, venues have trouble getting it in the building.

With “ISAM,” Tobin tells an epic in sound — a pounding, fractal, processed, boundary-exploding odyssey that challenges and intrigues.

“ISAM’s” audio syncs to a custom set of visuals that are projection-mapped onto an enormous, 3-D screen, with Amon’s DJ booth built into it.

Fifteen years into his career, Tobin says it’s gratifying to make uncompromising, face-melting electronic art and attract a huge, devout fan base.

He says, “I’ve always been very much driven by my own stubbornness, and curiosity too. I feel very lucky I’ve been able to do things that people care about and people are still interested in.”

Brazil-born, England-raised Tobin started out as Cujo in 1996 and became a core member of the UK Ninja Tune label, releasing the arguably perfect album “Bricolage” (1997) and equally noteworthy “Supermodified” (2000).

By 2007’s “Foley Room,” Tobin’s process was creating or finding raw sounds and transmuting them into records, as well as video game and film soundtracks.

He moved to the Bay Area in 2008. His seventh release, 2011’s “ISAM,” is impossible to dance to, or to perform live.

“The whole thing was really kind of like, ‘How the f*** do I present this to anyone?’ I certainly had no vision to make a big footprint onstage or try to get myself in debt. It was really just trying to think of new ways to present the music,” he says.

But with a crack team of Bay Area technologists, Tobin crafted a projection-mapped, cinematic acid trip of an experience. It was risky, expensive and radical, and it worked.

“ISAM” killed at smaller sold-out shows in late 2011, and is back this year in bigger venues. The Bay Area show adds Kronos Quartet.

“I begged them to do that. I have immense respect for them and I’m a huge fan,” he says. “This thing is going to be amazing.”

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David Downs

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