“Night” is the debut release from Kansas City-based guitarist/percussionist David Williams and it shows a great deal of promise (albeit mingled with a great deal of frustration). Williams takes his inspiration from an eyebrow-raising variety of sources that include: Tangerine Dream, “the plains and skies of the mid-west”, Yes, Stephen O’Malley, Steve Roach, the idea of supplication, the classic rock of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, and a whole slew of Windham Hill guitarists like Michael Hedges and Alex DeGrassi. He began this project in 2007 with the philosophical intent of “sounding the depths of nature and the heavens” and achieving a sort of communion with the earth through his music. I have no idea if he succeeded in that, but he certainly has proven himself to be technically adept at creating minimalist guitar-based ambient in the vein of Expo ’70.
I particularly enjoyed the opening track (“Dust”), which elegantly combines a low drone with layers of somber, ringing guitars and an ambient shimmer. In fact, throughout the entire album, Williams displays a striking command of space, texture, clarity, and subtlety that surpasses quite a few of his peers- he is undeniably a talented guy. Unfortunately (here’s the catch), the tone of “Night” is unrelentingly, monochromatically, and oppressively bleak. Taken in single-song doses, “Night” is an impressive achievement. When listened to in its entirety, however, it is the sonic equivalent of being trapped in a museum filled entirely with low-contrast grayscale photographs. I’m extremely perplexed by this, as Williams’ work seem far more thematically indebted to cerebral, stark isolationism than anything alive, earthy, or organic (aside from perhaps the minor warmth of “First Light”). Missouri’s skies and plains must be a lot creepier than I remember them. 5/10 -- Anthony D'Amico (24 June, 2009)