Digits: The Day You Fight Back EP - This past month newcomer Digits has played shows with both St. Vincent and Dan Deacon. Digits is a one-man electronic act, fronted by one and only Alt Altman, which admittedly sounds a bit like a fake name made to mimic a laptop keyboard. Nevertheless, Digits has broken into the melodic electronic scene (if one such exists) unapologetically, his breathy vocals whispering over the light synth and acoustic guitar riffs. Digits may best be described as a blend between ambient electronica and fellow Canadians Majical Cloudz-esque soul electronica.
Title track, ‘The Day You Fight Back’ begins in a pseudo-tropical melody fused with the tempo and feel of smooth jazz. Smooth may in fact be the best way to describe the music of Digits. Synths come in over the light airy acoustic riff and the beats of the drum machine.
The second track, ‘When You Look Inside,’ picks up the pace, with a more prominent drum machine beat and synths, the absence of that one acoustic guitar riff changing the sound of the song completely, from an ambient jazzy electronic piece to a strictly technology based serenade. Altman’s voice (unaltered and strictly un-autotuned) contrasts the heavy electronics of the music well, adding a soulful, human element to a genre that typically remains in the domain of robotic beats.
‘Stasis’ is the EP’s third track, which integrates Altman’s own acapellas in between the synths, creating incredible melodic dimension otherwise rather unheard of in electronic music. Digits will no doubt become an instant success, for their innovative use of electronic instruments next to the human instrument, that is, Altman’s voice. ‘Stasis’ specifically speaks to the desire to for stability in life, as Altman croons, ‘We’re all looking for some kind of stasis’.
The final track on the EP, ‘Brain Brain’ is my personal favorite. Its an anthem for all insomniacs, and Altman laments, “I just can’t keep my brain from working overtime”. This track returns to the pseudo-tropical sound of the first and title track, ‘The Day You Fight Back’. Dotted synths work around the airy vocals in a rain drop type dance, falling here and there. As the song winds down, acoustic guitar comes in alongside an electric bass, adding layer upon melodic layer of intricately placed sounds that crescendo into the climax of the song before petering off again into silence.
If this high praise of Digits was not enough, the fact he released The Day You Fight Back as a free mp3 download on his website (which can be found here), may be! Look out for the name Alt Altman and Digits in the future, you are sure to see it…9.4/10