“Mirtazapine marks a couple of things for me – a return to ambience and a creative process to help me deal with some difficult times. Ambient, for me, is music for a busy head. It’s something which should envelop you and physically alter you. The best ambient becomes a world which you can access. It helps me focus and calms the racing thoughts and rumination which often accompany tough times for me”.
A classically trained clarinettist and former chorister, the clean lines of minimalism and Early Music in particular have informed Andy Dobson’s (aka Digitonal) role as an Electronica producer. Recording and performing his particular take on classically influenced electronica since the late nineties and coming to prominence on the seminal Toytronic Records label, he signed to Just Music in 2008. His album Save Your Light For Darker Days was released to great critical acclaim: “A heavenly overture…sweeping bows and tumultuous build ups…if the bass doesn’t get you then the throb of the cello will” Music OMH “A slowburning atmospheric beast…shimmering with a yearning romanticism…heartbreakingly lovely” Rock Sound. Digitonal’s next release, a retrospective of his carreer to date, Be Still My Bleeping Heart met similar high praise.
His most recent album, Beautiful Broken, evoked the subtlety and self-contained intimacy of chamber music, but as befits Dobson’s recent reconnection with Ambient, these elements move slowly through a cool electronic space. What defines Ambient for him is the literal meaning of the word more than a particular musical genre, specifically the expanse of sound that he experienced singing in a choir in a candlelit Durham Cathedral.
“Ambience is a world to me, something I inhabit. It’s a safe space and a constant inspiration. Far from being ephemeral, ambient can be a lifeline.”
With remix and production credits for artists like Max Richter, Kirsty Hawkshaw, B12 and Alice Russell, collaboration has always been at the heart of Digitonal. There’s a melancholy, a bitter-sweetness to his music, whichever way his particular balance of acoustic and electronic sounds tip in the future, Dobson continues to push his music forward, now leaving the explicit classicism of earlier work and going deep into the electronics with Dom Graveson, formerly of CERN.
Digitonal is known for live sets of great range and beauty and has toured extensively, being much in demand at festivals and venues across the UK, Europe and US.
We are delighted to welcome him to The Ambient Zone.