Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Album Review - digitalanalogue - Be Embraced, You Millions!
digitalanalogue is a solo project by Ian Turnbull from Edinburgh’s Broken Records and this debut release Be Embraced, You Millions! is an album that displays a haunting beauty that can’t fail to draw you back time and time again for repeated listens. Recorded on a mixture of old and new home recording equipment (hence the digitalanalogue tag), the album draws its influence from the last two years of Ian’s life from his “excitement at first time fatherhood and family life” to death of his mother from a terminal illness, with the parts of the song titles in parenthesis offering clues to the various events they are based on. The mixture of emotions inspired by these highs and lows informs the album’s feel throughout.
Opener Café Royal (Difficult Conversation) is a beautiful track that begins with a kind of Brian Eno Music For Airports style piano before elements of post rock guitar work their way in, reminiscent of Mogwai, or Sigur Ros in their more placid moments. It’s a gorgeous piece of music and a real scene setter for the album. The piano led tracks are the stand outs for me on this release. The wonderful Bow Bar (I’m Sorry, I Was Miles Away), with its slightly treated piano sound redolent of The Caretaker’s haunting albums mixed with the melody of Depeche Mode instrumentals. Album taster track ID83846 (Don’t Look Down) too is a wonderful piece of work.
The stand out track, and the one most clearly linked to the personal events that inspired the work is No.99 (I Love To Go A Wandering). It starts out with eerie electronics, before strings transform it into a heartbreaking piece of music that is interwoven with sampled dialogue of conversations between a father, their child and the child’s grandmother. It really is quite a breath-taking track and works fantastically well as the album’s centre-piece, musically and emotionally.
The remaining tracks on the album fall more into the post rock category with a collection of drones and loops interspersed with samples and piano parts. Tracks such as Wapping Road, Bristol (Always In The Right Place At The Right Time) or London Road (Busy Brain) providing a counterpoint to the more considered, almost ambient moments on the record. The album ends on an upbeat note with the magical Creag Ruadh (Keep Going) which feels distinctly like light at the end of the tunnel.
Be Embraced, You Millions! is ultimately a very uplifting record and one that you can’t help becoming affected by, even after just one listen. Superb stuff.
- David McElroy
digitalanalogue - Be Embraced, You Millions! is out now on Song, By Toad Records either digitally via all good online music retailers or on limited edition 12” vinyl from all good record shops or here. The vinyl comes in a hand-printed sleeve with photography and writing by Ian himself. .