Not an Edward Maya or Zomby remix – we think.
Anthony Easton: I am writing this in the early evening, with my roommates downstairs and my window open, and the sounds of traffic drifting in. It is a neighborhood with lots of kids, and there are kids next door, chattering a bit. The general urban buzz, the ambient noises of a quietish neighborhood in a big city, are sort of indescribable, but feel like home. That this music fits so seamlessly to that atmosphere is a mark in its favour — as are what could be called exoticism, a vaguely Brazilian brass section, some fantastic percussion, and something that could be a toucan or what I would really like to imagine being a toucan. The two feelings are polysemous, and shockingly do not clash.
Edward Okulicz: Proof that you don’t need to resort to sounds like actual raindrops to evoke the feeling of rain. The sheer prettiness of “Digital Rain” immediately puts me in the headspace where rain is beautiful rather than a nuisance that makes me hesitant to head out.
Brad Shoup: A bold choice for a promotional release. After all, the first half is dominated by geologically-textured ambient — it sounds like a MIDI extract from Hejira. Love how the melody is eventually drizzled onto those negative-space chords. Raff does a bunch of things well, but I wouldn’t complain if he expanded this particular map.
John Seroff: Electronic music certainly doesn’t have to be enjoyably replicable in an analogue format to be good but, as a general yardstick, I will wager that it generally is when it can be. “Digital Rain” certainly fits the bill; translated to handclaps, thumb piano, cuíca, kulintang, bass drum, didgeridoo and rainstick, it would still be a potent composition. The verve and diversity saves this from the mundanity of Deep Forest; the humanity and trancier elements diagonally distinguish it from Ratatat. I’d gratefully welcome a full album’s worth into rotation.
Alfred Soto: The rhythm is a real sea of permutation: while synths twinkle and eddy, the percussive beds keep gurgling. I’m not all sure about the misbegotten title though.
Michaela Drapes: I’m afraid I’m probably a bit too sentimental to review this effectively; all that lilting Latin percussion deployed in a completely unexpected way made me tear up a little. That being said, I’m definitely happy to see someone with a bit of innovative backbone on the Nacional roster; almost everyone else on that label is so deadeningly mediocre.
Jonathan Bogart: I think I’m congenitally incapable of giving an instrumental electronic track higher than a , but that must mean I really loved this one.