Switched On – Digitonal: Set The Weather Fair (Just Music)

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.

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Playlist – Digitonal

It gives us great pleasure to welcome Digitonal‘s Andy Dobson to Arcana’s playlist section.

He has been busy working on album number four for Digitonal, Set The Weather Fair – released only last Friday on the Just Music label. It features a typically blissful set of sonic pictures, with extra-descriptive hues from Dobson’s clarinet and cello.

The Spotify playlist here is a selection of music that led to the album, and it includes restful but thoroughly immersive ambient music from varied sources such as Loscil, Pye Corner Audio, Philip Glass and BT:

Our thanks to Andy for this regenerating collection of music. Digitonal’s new album Set The Weather Fair is out now on Just Music. You can listen and purchase on the Bandcamp embed below:

Switched On – BUNKR: The Initiation Well Remixed (VLSI)

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

BUNKR’s album The Initiation Well proved to be one of the sleeper electronic hits of 2019, showing off the ability of Brighton’s James Dean to present an album of really well thought out electronica.

Now as a companion piece he has commissioned an album’s worth of remixes, with eight very different interpretations ranging from Digitonal to preston.outatime.

What’s the music like?

Both calming and invigorating, in equal measure. The collection is presented in a logical order, so we begin with a dreamy Digitonal remix of For The Birds, setting the scene beautifully as the track is left in suspension, bisected by a soft piano.

Fujiya & Miyagi do a typically fuzzy take on Solitary Drift, with added flutter and distortion that suits it really well – and their own half-whispered vocals. Octavcat then ensure Solar Wings takes off with its broad chords and busy rhythm.

The upfront, block beats of preston.outatime take Left For Dust to a tougher dancefloor, while Jonathan Krisp gets some acidic squiggles going against the slow moving backdrop of The Initiation Well itself. East Of Eden acquires more bleeps and movement, a really nice glitchy bit of techno applied by Lextron, while the remix of Docking Procedure finds Infinite Scale going under the surface with a head-nodding bit of dub. Finally label heads Echaskech apply their typically robust beats to a heady remix of Left For Dust.

Does it all work?

Yes. Importantly this set of remixes works as an album too, such is the intelligent arrangement of different tempos, textures and beats. All the BUNKR originals are complemented but remain recognisably the work of Dean himself.

Is it recommended?

Very much so. If you liked the original album you’ll find this imaginatively realised remix collection complements it perfectly.

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