digitalanalogue – Be Embraced, You Millions – Out 16th March

Ian Turnbull of Broken Records releases solo project, digitalanalogue, album ‘Be Embraced, You Millions’ on Song, By Toad.

Album Artwork by Fiona Buckle

As stated on the home page, I don’t do reviews. Why would my opinion matter anymore than anyone elses?  One man’s Taylor Swift is anothers Kathryn Joseph. That said, sometimes I hear an album and have to write about it, this one being the first in a while.

Matthew at Song, By Toad has been kind enough to send me a load of music over the last few years and last Friday I received an email with a link to Ian Turnbull from Broken Records new solo project going under the name of digitalanalogue.

Ian explains digitalanalogue:

digitalanalogue is the name of my solo home-recording project outside of Broken Records.  The name is a reference to the ramshackle hybrid recording set-up I started out with – acoustic guitar, cheap drum machines and transistor organ fed into a complex chain of old tape 4-track, minidisc recorder and long obsolete audio editing software.  Things have moved on since then with access to digital 8-track, iPad and better quality microphones, but the set-up is still very rough and ready.

While doing some research for Shore Live on Wednesday I revisited Matthew’s email and downloaded the preview album and stuck it on. Instantly I was  taken in by the track titles. With names such as CAFE ROYAL (Difficult Conversation), LONDON ROAD (Busy Brain) and BOW BAR (Sorry, I was Miles Away). It looked like a concept album based in Edinburgh. Excellent.

After 3 songs I was instantly hooked. I’m a massive fan of Sigur Ros, Explosions In The Sky and Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross. Chilled out  instrumental bands have always appealed to me. Not instrumental rock bands that can’t find a decent lyricist but decide to go for it anyway, but chilled out instrumental music where you can really appreciate the music and the story it is telling.

Again, I went back to the original email to find out more and when I read Ian’s description of the album I knew this one would be played over and over again, not just the 6 times back to back I listened to it in the one sitting on Wednesday but always.

Photo by Kat Gollock
Photo by Kat Gollock

Be Embraced, You Millions! came about as a response to the extreme highs and lows of a two year period in my life between 2011 and 2012.   The excitement of first-time fatherhood and family life, touring, working on the third Broken Records album were tempered by personal heartbreaks, and all overshadowed by the terminal illness and death of my mother.

“Although largely written around the same time as Weights & Pulleys, the record is stylistically very different and almost entirely instrumental.  Musically, the dense atmospheric drones, repetitive piano lines and found sounds take their cues from the likes of Gavin Bryars, Brian Eno, Gonzales and Nils Frahm. The record also takes inspiration from RM Hubbert and his approach of ‘music as therapy’.

“Each track on the album is about a specific person, place or event, and they come together to help form a musical memory of that time.”

I have stated on Twitter that if there is a better album that comes out this year than ‘Be Embraced, You Millions’ I will eat my hat.  It’s a beautiful collection of songs with a beautiful message and theme throughout.  Some of the unique samples used really drive home what Ian says above. This record will be enjoyed on a quiet night with a whisky for a very long time.

There are 100 hand printed 12″ Viynls of this being release on 16th March. You can pre-order now at Song, By Toad Records. 

I don’t do reviews but if I did 10/10




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