Amon Tobin - Bricolage
Amon Tobin is originally from Rio de Janeiro and this album exudes images of tropical, exotic and decadent scenescapes to the extent that it's almost palpable.
It's not just the choice of instruments (fender rhodes, various acoustic basses and a multitude of digital and analog sounds, samples and drum loops) which that helps to set the scene, but something else that lies on the very edge of perception. I visited Rio in the 80's and there's definitely something strange there, behind the glitter and exotica there's a presence of some kind, and this album has helped define and capture it.
On Chomp Samba there's an amazing drum sequence throughout that barely manages to conceal the sound of voices and some kind of activity, and again on Defocus there is a sense that not all is what it may seem to be on the surface.
By no means does he seem to have gone to great lengths to create covert or sinister imagery but at the same time I doubt it happened by magic.
Wires & Snakes with its impossibly intricate drum patterns and a haunting soprano sax melody line sit on a pad of reverse samples and synth strings, and for dessert One Day In My Garden presents a virtual girl from Ipanema who inexorably changes into a hissing serpent.
Without doubt one of the best releases this year (1998)
Rating - 912,355 (out of a possible 1,000,000)