reviewed by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
For Digitonal’s fourth studio album, Andrew Dobson is joined by producer Dom Graveson for a fusion of analogue and digital setting natural scenes to vivid music. Set The Weather Fair will be a comforting reassurance to those who have already enjoyed Dobson’s first three albums under the Digitonal moniker, but this one offers greater depths of texture and musicianship.
What’s the music like?
Blissful – but also wholly immersive. This is music that paints vivid pictures but in the same breath possesses a great deal of emotion. One of the biggest pluses here is the way Dobson uses his clarinet and cello to colour the textures and to make the melodies more distinctive. He also knows his way around small and expansive structures – the ten-minute Gold Of The Azure is every bit as captivating as The End Is Just The Beginning that follows it.
Those two tracks are notable for their use of the clarinet, which comes to the fore on Gold Of The Azure, and then the cello on The End Is Just The Beginning, which features a slowly tolling piano. The Dance’s Pattern, too, is ideally paced.
On his Bandcamp page Dobson sets out the story behind the album and its sonic images, citing a number of influences in a modest tribute to the music he listens to. The truth of the matter is however that this music, instrumental thought it is in his make-up, is all used to make a wholly original piece of work, a recognisably British affair where both restraint and bold colours are used to great effect.
Does it all work?
Yes. The colours are captivating, the use of beats and beatless music is just right, and the proportions feel right too. Dobson has a winning way with melody, and Graveson’s production nouse is the icing on the cake.
Is it recommended?
It is. Set The Weather Fair can easily be divided into the nine elements that make up the whole, but it is best experienced in a single sitting, a seamless flow of musical ambience that settles the mind and gently moves the soul. It is right up there with Digitonal’s best work.