Almost too good.
Digitonal are an odd mix of one classically trained mix-master by the name of Andy Dobson and one Egyptian session player, Samy Bishai and several other, equally bizzare performers who contribute to this rather strange and mysterious sound. Now I'm a big fan of chill-out music and similar such sounds, especially after a heavy session of metal. This album seems to blend electronic and classical instruments together in just such a way as to make you feel comfortable and almost unaware of the music at a conscious level.
Dark harps and moody synth open up the album for us, quickly followed by a string section and more bassy tones, creating a sense of drama and relaxation at the same time. "Silver Poetry" combines some excellent violin work with a slight hint of a drum and bass rhythm sneaking in.
The tone of the album seems generally upbeat, with a few haunting, off-beat sections. It feels as if my head is being wrapped in a snug, audio blanket. I do feel that there is a certain modern feeling that isn't present in this album, which a band such as Royksopp might be considered to have. It's quite hard to put my finger on exactly what this might be. Perhaps a certain difference in the mix of synth and real instruments?
This continues with "93 years on", where there is a significant amount of woodwind that fits very well with the bird like samples and deep bass. "Nothing Left to Say" contains more synth and floats a little more. There are slight hints of a more oriental feel here and there with the strings dominating. There is perhaps a little too much of the synthesized xylophone throughout most of the songs, giving it a general faerie sound and feel to the tune that I'm not sure I like too much. But there are some pretty acoustic guitars thrown in during the later tracks that liven things up a bit.
Perhaps this band does their job too well? Im not hearing a particular theme or style or definitive progression here. I don't believe that this is particularly ground-breaking either but I do feel more relaxed and less conscious of the act of listening, which is precisely what you want from such an album.
There is a slight modern feeling missing and although this album is very relaxing, it certainly isn't catchy or definitive in anyway. It doesn't stand out. That, however, is a strength and a weakness.