Digitonal - Be Still My Bleeping Heart (Just Music)

The main problem is inconsistency with tracks often starting off wonderfully before running out of ideas.

Released Jul 26th, 2010 via Just Music / By Norman Miller
Digitonal - Be Still My Bleeping Heart (Just Music) This handy collection pulls together pieces recorded on 'tiny bedroom labels' between 2002-08 by the classically-trained Andy Dobson (aka Digitonal), who did time in the National Youth Choir before moving onto soundtrack composing and DJing.

Dobson is clear about his influences, listing 1990s post-clubbing listening as The Orb, Future Sound of London and Orbital along with Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Michael Nyman. The result is an intriguing melange of IDM meets classical minimalism which should be better than it is. Which isn’t saying it’s bad - the main problem is inconsistency, with tracks often starting off wonderfully before running out of ideas.

Many of the best moments find Dobson drawing on his classical training. Though he trained on piano and clarinet, he reveals his best touch with strings, laying out a series of gorgeous violin and/or cello motifs played by Samy Bishai amid the lush English romanticism of Overline, the achingly pretty Seraphim and the gorgeous Maris Stella.

Most of the tracks fuse IDM glitches and beats with classical lines, though two of the more successful buck that trend - the drifting synths meets hypnotic beats of Antares, and the trancey Drencrom whose 10-minute exploration of marimba-like percussion would sit happily on a Steve Reich album.

But tracks like 'Come And Play' and 'Cantus V' exemplify the album’s niggling inconsistency - the former wasting pretty strings by matching them with clunky beats, the latter following its magnificently eerie beat-mingled violin and cello opening with so-so synth mush. That said, there’s plenty to enjoy, especially if you’re happy to press the ’Next’ button a few times.