The larger-than-life live show promises to highlight his latest album, 'ISAM,' with a full array of visuals displayed on a large multi-dimensional 3-D art installation surrounding Tobin, enveloping both him and the audience in a "beyond 3-D" experience.
"With 'ISAM' there are very few tracks you could play on a dance floor and get away with it," Tobin tells Spinner. "They're all synthesized or multi-sampled instruments [on the album] that have been adapted to make something that is imagined. I even transformed my own voice to make different characters, I've got a younger girl for one track and an older lady for another.
"At some point you're faced with the challenge of presenting it to people, to make a visually engaging experience for people and a sonically satisfying one, too. The idea is to present the album, not to do a rave or try and make people sweat, but to present the record in a personal way that's relevant to what the record is about."
By using physically modelling, a concept that refers to the use of computers to simulate the sounds of musical instruments, Tobin found himself studying up on the "parameters of physics" while in the studio.
"When you model something form scratch and you apply an algorithm to it, it will respond to the physics that are determined and it will react in a natural way. So a lot of the banjo twangy sounds on the record, although they don't sound convincing as normal instruments, the way they react and reverberate is convincing because they're reacting to an algorithm, like a natural thing would. You've turned everything into math and you're no longer restricted to a waveform, so you can merge sounds together and make one sound adopt the characteristics of another sound."
"My music is a byproduct of curiosity of what happens when you put two things that don't belong together," he continues. "That was the basis for the record, trying to synthesize sounds and controlling them to some degree but also letting them have a life of their own that's determined by the math."
"I tend to connect to music in a physical way, and I don't really get too distracted with trying to tell a story or deliver a message," says Tobin. But for the design of the visual components of the show, which came after the fact, he says: "The guys and I went to a progressive rock space; we went on a journey into some kind of drug-induced outer space experience."
Much like Tobin's music, the live visual show is also fueled by advancements in technology and the V Squared Labs creative team's current experimentation with it.
"I'm very excited, but there's some trepidation about it because it's not something any of us have tried before," he says. "In the past, I always felt that unless I could do something really cool with the visuals, I'd rather turn the lights off and concentrate on the sound. But now that the technology is there, the people and the enthusiasm are all there, I wanted to do it."
Amon Tobin's 'ISAM' live show has its world debut today, June 1, at Mutek.