As much as the recording's musical roots brush 20th century minimalism and ambient electonica, it also extends much further back to the clean uncluttered lines characteristic of Early music, particularly vocal plain chant and early polyphony.
Digitonal’s music was conceived as an attempt to apply electronic and computer derived techniques to modern – particularly minimalist – classical themes and performances.
"As a concept this is a pretty basic thing," he admits. "I would go home after clubbing in the early to mid 90s and typically play a mixture of The Orb, Future Sound Of London, Orbital and then Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Michael Nyman. I felt it was a genre where I could collate a massive range of influences and musical signatures. And I always wanted to work with classical musicians."
At its worst, bedroom electronica in the 90s was clichéd and frustratingly limited, because the musicians didn’t have either the capability or the nous to structure music in anything other than the most basic formats. But Dobson’s attention was caught by Warp’s landmark Artificial Intelligence compilations, the complex, teeming worlds of Future Sound Of London’s Lifeforms, and especially by The Black Dog and their offshoot Plaid, whose tunes like 'Angry Dolphin' were harmonically totally different to everything else out there.
After early experiments with a string quartet, he eventually found what he was looking for in a fortuitous meeting with violinist Samy Bishai in 2001. In the wrong hands, a mixture of classical music and electronica could have yielded an awkward fusion, but the duo manage to thread a delicate line of strong emotional intelligence rarely found in electronica and much more in keeping with the music's classical underpinnings.
"Beautiful" The Guardian
"Cinematic anthems featuring multi-tracked strings and majestic melodies" Uncut
"A heavenly overture ... sweeping bows and tumultous builds ... If the bass doesn't get you then the throb of the cello will" Music OMH
“a slowburning atmospheric beast...shimmering wth a yearning romanticism. heartbreakingly lovely” Rock Sound