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Digital Ash In A Digital Urn

Bright Eyes Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: 9.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Since 2006 the once revolving cast of Bright Eyes players has settled around permanent members Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nathaniel Walcott, with additional musicians joining them in the studio and on tour. Fully realized and bursting with charisma, The People’s Key is an assured and accomplished album, artfully arranged and filled with the engaging and mesmeric songwriting for which ... Read more in Amazon's Bright Eyes Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (2 Oct 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Saddle Creek Europe
  • ASIN: B00069W4K4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,586 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Time Code
2. Gold Mine Gutted
3. Arc Of Time (time Code)
4. Down In A Rabbit Hole
5. Take It Easy (love Nothing)
6. Hit The Switch
7. I Believe In Symmetry
8. Devil In The Details
9. Ship In A Bottle
10. Light Pollution
11. Theme To Pinata
12. Easy/lucky/free

Product Description

There is always a problem with releasing two albums on one day. Of the two, Digital Ash In A Digital Urn is the trickier to digest- per the title , the sound is mostly created ore from heavy drum loops, metallic percussion, clicks, pops and buzzing synths, coupled with the distressed, cracked voice that appeals and dismays in equal measures. The sound-effect laden "Time Code" sets the scene for an album of clanking twists and turns, reaching fine apexes in "Arc Of Time" and the bouncy "Hit The Switch" that are less melodic and more ominous than their "Wide Awake" counterparts, but more rewarding, and this is probably the album the fans will prefer.

In this case, both as good as any previous album (and, given Conor Oberst's previous form, that's a high benchmark to compare with), but inevitably, as Bruce Springsteen has found, they will be forever compared with one another. Thankfully, there isn't a difference in quality between these two albums, more a difference in approach, which makes for equal, delightful brilliance. The domination of the US singles chart ("Take It Easy" at #2, and "Lua" at #1 simultaneously) suggests that both could be equal hits, and deservedly so. --Thom Allott

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another side of Bright Eyes 3 Feb 2005
Format:Audio CD
Everyone knows that, when armed with an acoustic guitar and four chords, Conor Oberst can send a shiver down hipsters' spines, and this month's masterpiece I'm Wide Awake It's Morning will surely take this indie crooning into the mainstream. But wait! Lurking behind this incredible honing of his sound is something more adventurous, perhaps less crowd-pleasing. Digital Ash In A Digital Urn swaps Emmylou Harris and Jim James for Dntel from electro-indie outfit The Postal Service, and replaces stripped-down acoustic guitars with squelchy electronics, tinny drum machines and distorted guitars from Nick Zinner, the skinny axe-wielder from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Can he recreate his trademark sensitivity with instruments devoid of soul?
The answer- at least in parts- is a resounding yes. The country warmth may be gone, but- like all Oberst's work under various guises- his sharp wordplay and cracked voice elevate this further from typical 'new Bob Dylan' fare. While the music may be experimental, this is no Kid A-style reinvention. For a start, it actually has tunes, and some of Digital Ash... resembles finely-crafted pop music, such as the indie-with-beats number Hit The Switch, or US Number 2 single Take It Easy. While we could have done without the weird baby noises on the lacklustre Ship In A Bottle, the experimentation provides an interesting new method of conveying Oberst's nightmares and teenage worries, in the same way that previous side-project Desaparecidos coated his political angst in punk guitars and screaming.
This flawed-but-brilliant album's finest moments put a new spin on a tried-and-tested formula, like a good remix album (if such a thing exists). It's actually a lot more human than its computerised nature appears.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ticking the boxes 13 April 2005
Format:Audio CD
"Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" is one of two albums recently released simultaneously by Bright Eyes, a vehicle for the low key musings of singer-songwriter, artiste generale Connor Oberst.
It is unnecessary to delve too deeply into the much discussed differences between this and its sister album, "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning," (henceforth IWAIM) which fitted more securely into the alt-folk acoustic model that has created a loyal fan base for Bright Eyes.
In many ways, their is a strong continuity with his former work; highly nuanced rhythm and melody within a simple structure, lyrics that are abstract in a sense that they reveal ideas and feelings rather than disguise meaning and vocals that have the ability to express deep emotion but are cranked up sparingly so maintaining their integrity. These hallmarks of Oberst's work make this an album that will still appeal to his loyal fan base, (although of course he was smart enough to sweeten the pill with "IWAIM").
However, the use of drum machines, unsyncopated beats, and highly processed and synthetic sound effects, that mark a break from his previous work, give this album a more refined almost futuristic style that will appeal to people who find pared down acoustic musings a little too raw to digest.
While being an intelligent commercial move this is also a social service; singer-songwriters almost always have the most thought provoking lyrics and it is commendable that Oberst is bringing his brand to a generation succoured on electronica.
This has become a bit of a eulogy so to balance the books slightly; this will annoy die-hards but Oberst's voice can grate after continued listens (although not many artists can claim to avoid this).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius 1 Feb 2005
Format:Audio CD
WOW! I listened to this album and was lost for words. The melodies created by Conor Oberst in this album are original but created effortlessly. His lyrics add a human, real aspect to the album that isn't lost behind the electronic effects. Particualr highlights would be "Arc of Time", "Gold Mine Gutted" and "Down in a Rabbit Hole" with its slightly clostrophbic atmosphere.
Though these tracks stand out to me as being of particular note they still blend into the album as a whole and create a cohessive sound through which the album flows.
Overall it may be a less accessible album than I'm Wide Awake... but it is an album that i believe everyone can find something in, it has that many different aspects. You might just have to listen to it a few times.
But you wont know unless you BUY IT.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ashes to urn 31 Mar 2007
Format:Audio CD
"Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" seems like an appropriate name for this album, one of two Bright Eyes has released in early 2005. It's about time and death, and it's swamped in digital music. Indie-rock's golden boy Conor Oberst lets out his inner Thom Yorke in this experimental album, which retains a dark, rough edge but doesn't quite measure up to Oberst's other work.

This time around, Oberst's mournful songs are dressed up in artful synth. Think of this as Bright Eyes' "Kid A" -- an experimental album that may herald a whole new direction for Bright Eyes, or may just be Oberst diddling around in the studio. "Digital Ash" takes some time to get moving, but is breathtaking when it finally does.

While "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning" has a stripped-down, warmer sound, "Digital Ash" is darker and colder -- part gritty rock, part new wave. Its heart is "I Believe in Symmetry," a jagged rock song with a transcendent climax. It's accompanied by the symphonic prettiness of "Gold Mine Gutted," and the cacophonic pop of "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)."

Oberst often overdoes it with all the synth and swelling soundscapes, with some very choppy beats put in. Regular instruments like a snare drum, acoustic guitar and strings keep it grounded. But despite the acoustic instruments, the dense electronic blips take this far away from country and indie rock.

His songwriting gets lost in the mix in songs like the vaguely loungey "Devil in the Details." His vocals also get messed with in a few songs, which just gives the feeling that parts of "Digital Ash" is overproduced. Most of the time his slightly trembly vocals are left alone, rising triumphantly over the multilayered music.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative but familiar
Really beautiful album. Every one of Bright Eyes' albums is a classic in my view, but this one really seems to have a more delicate feel, not only in the music but also in the... Read more
Published on 11 Feb 2010 by Maxim Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars deep dark clever
If you like deep, dark and clever things you will like this. If you think life's a lonely road you will love this. Read more
Published on 29 Sep 2007 by Mr. T. Munday
4.0 out of 5 stars Conor plugs in
Bright Eyes fourth and fifth albums were released in tandem, on the 24th of January 2005, they both showcased two different directions and parting points, Digital Ash in a Digital... Read more
Published on 12 Sep 2006 by C. E. Baylis
5.0 out of 5 stars Is good yes!
I was not expecting this album to be so absolutely ace. Highly recomended if u like the electronic side of things, its lighter and more feel good than most electronic albums of the... Read more
Published on 9 Sep 2006 by Ned Dunningham
5.0 out of 5 stars A testament to the art of songwriting
It is always difficult for an artist with such a committed fanbase to attempt an album clearly isolated in style from his back catalogue. Read more
Published on 3 Sep 2006 by David Margates
5.0 out of 5 stars Reborn on a circuit board...
With the previous Bright Eyes Album (Lifted) Conor Oberst appeared to throw absolutely everything in his canon at the record. Read more
Published on 31 July 2006 by T. Blake
3.0 out of 5 stars Digital Ash in a Digital urn
If your new to brighteyes I would buy I'm awake it's morning. Although there are a couple of good songs most are not the best, bordering on cheesey. But Conor Oberst is a genus. Read more
Published on 27 July 2006 by Beavers
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Bright Eyes album.
This isn't an album you get into straight away. The first few listens, make it seem like a mixture of mechanical, electrical sounds and on top of drum beats with the odd baby... Read more
Published on 4 Feb 2006 by View from nowhere
4.0 out of 5 stars Another side of Bright Eyes
Everyone knows that, when armed with an acoustic guitar and four chords, Conor Oberst can send a shiver down hipsters' spines, and this month's masterpiece I'm Wide Awake It's... Read more
Published on 6 Feb 2005 by Mike Mantin
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable
This is a very enjoyable and listenable album. The tender vocals of Conor Oberst seem to contrast the often brutal (and very Postal Service-esque) drumbeats nicely, and though the... Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2005 by "ibble_pib"
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