digitalanalogue – Be Embraced, You Millions! (3 stars)

Ian Turnbull – Be Embraced, You Millions!

(Song, By Toad)

Named in say-what-you-hear fashion after the mix of hardware and software used in the making of the music, digitalanalogue is the instrumental, solo, side project of Broken Records guitarist Ian Turnbull, and his debut offering is a sort of instrumental diary, written around the same time as Broken Records’ third album Weights and Pulleys against a turbulent personal backdrop of births and deaths, highs and lows, with individual tracks inspired by specific people, places or incidents and intriguingly titled accordingly.

The album title, Be Embraced, You Millions! is the name of a Strauss waltz, although Turnbull is more influenced by modern classical and electronic composers and found sound sculptors, as well as by guitarist RM Hubbert’s therapeutic approach to playing – fine if the listener gets something from the experience, but the music has been created expressly as an outlet for the writer/player’s feelings and is ultimately an indulgent exercise.

Yet for taking such an introspective approach, Turnbull succeeds in engaging throughout, be it with sonorous, naïve piano refrains, fuzzy, chiming guitars or the more abstract, ambient interludes, weaving stylistic strands together to create a meditative mood piece.

The pastoral atmosphere conjured by the resonating banjo and birdsong on ‘Dovecot (A Holiday of Sorts)’ contrasts with the electronic flutters of ‘London Road (Busy Brain)’ and lullaby organ drone of ‘Kitchen 3.06am (Go to Sleep Little Guy)’ – no prizes for guessing what that’s inspired by – or the soothing folky fugue ‘No.99 (I Love to Go A-Wandering)’, infused with vocal fragments of his family, and monastic moans and chimes of ‘Garret (Left Unfinished)’.

The closing ‘Creag Ruadh (Keep Going)’ sounds like a backing track his band might build on, while the graceful Satiesque ‘ID 83846 (Don’t Look Down)’ is a fittingly filmic highlight. Satisfying sonic therapy all round.

Be Embraced, You Millions! is released Mon 16 Mar.
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