Switched On: Stone Giants: West Coast Love Stories (Nomark)

stone-giants

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Stone Giants is a new alias for Amon Tobin, the prolific Brazilian producer. It represents a new and slightly surprising side to his musical personality, exploring the connection between his own voice and his electronic music.

In his own words, West Coast Love Stories is ‘the weathered account of a fair run with romantic experiences. Things I wouldn’t trade for any number of more sober affairs’.

What’s the music like?

Deeply felt and pleasingly elusive. There are a number of influences at play here, including shoegaze and post rock, together with his own long standing ability to paint a scene with just a few notes.

Tobin’s voice doesn’t tend to go beyond a murmur but he still uses it expressively. With the descriptive Stinson Beach he combines woozy vocals with a slightly wavering pitch on the electronics to good effect, creating an air of mystery. The multilayered vocal and shimmering textures of the title track work really well, while the musical language of Best Be Sure, with dreamy vocals from Figueroa, has a hint of the African desert about its principal riff.

Tobin brings elegance to A Year To The Day, whose riff spins a web of intrigue. The Girl With The Great Ideas (That I Steal) has a similarly enchanting air, with some clever play on perspective and panning.

Does it all work?

Yes – Tobin sets the fuzzy scene early on and it permeates the like a heat haze. The unfocused elements of his work put the album in a dreamlike state, and the lack of bass keeps it floating in mid air. A word, too, for the cover photography by Jr Korpa – as good a match of music and image as you could wish to see.

Is it recommended?

Yes. Stone Giants is another string to Amon Tobin’s already impressive bow, revealing another side of his personality – and the romantic, lovelorn side suits him.

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