Soundtrack For Motion

  • Hypnagogue Review "Soundtrack For Motion" (Aug 27th, 2010)

The real beauty of a Dave Preston CD is in the way that polished, calm, ambient guitar inventions wrap effortlessly around a folk-rock sensibility that quite often shines through the shimmer. The borderline between his two styles is so narrow, singer/songwriter Matt Morris, with whom Preston has toured, took the tune “Be-Joy” from Preston’s first CD and re-crafted it into a beautiful ballad called “Just Before the Morning.”

The same is likely to happen with one or more tracks from Preston’s latest, Soundtrack for Motion. Melodic pieces like “The Blood in Your Veins” and the heartbreaking “Feeling That God Has Left You” (with ethereal violin work by Sam Gathman) seem ready-made to have lyrics just slotted into them–but they also succeed quite nicely on their own, lacking for nothing. Preston can also hang a whispery guitar drone in the air, as he does with “Flashing Emergency Lights,” a nice bit of build/sustain/fade and  “I’m Sorry,” a textured wash like intense but musical static. There’s also a fairly experimental track, “Spinning Away from the Earth,” featuring fellow Denverite Mingo, whose work I also quite like. This one sometime seems like it’s the outsider in the group, falling just shy of fitting in, but after a few listens I grew to like it more.

A pair of highlight tracks drive home the fact that Preston is, first and foremost, a top-notch guitarist. (He has played with, among others, Charlie Sexton, Tab Benoit, Justin Timberlake and Paula Cole.) “A Giant Leap of Faith” is the “big” track on Soundtrack…, with Preston building the thing in increasing layers, a wordless prayer-wail vocal coursing over it. In structure it reminds me of “Be-Alive,” my favorite track from his first disc. And then there’s “Sweet Sound of Escape,” a high-energy piece where Preston flails away at his axe (or axes) while showing what sounds like a bit of influence from U2′s Edge.  This one leaves me breathless.

I said in my review of his first disc, Be, that I was waiting to hear more from Dave Preston. InSoundtrack for Motion he has created a work that was very well worth the wait. It is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.

  • ElectroAmbient Space Review "Soundtrack For Motion" (Aug 23rd, 2010)

Dave Preston’s Be struck a chord with me for its originality, a unique melding of ambient and new age, and he continues to cross musical boundaries with ease onSoundtrack for Motion. The mood is often on the melancholy side, with a shoegaze vibe on selections like “Flashing Emergency Lights” and “The Blood in Your Veins”, the latter including vocals toward the end that weave seamlessly into the music. Vocals are more predominant on   “A Giant Leap of Faith”, a mournful sort of wail that continues from its atmospheric beginning through to a livelier rhythmic yet still moody latter half. Some tracks have a bit more edge to them, but all retain a dreamy quality, particularly on the ethereal floaters “I Am Sorry” and “Spinning Away From The Earth.” “Your Reflection In The Water” is more like relaxed instrumental rock, with a cool leisurely bass line. Preston’s guitar playing is restrained yet assured throughout, and really shines on “Sweet Sound of Escape,” vaguely reminiscent of a laid back Manuel Göttsching. Soundtrack for Motion is another solid offering by Preston.

  • Alternitive Music Press Review "Soundtrack For Motion (July 2010) 

Dave Preston
Soundtrack For Motion
Release Date: June 1, 2010
Label: Iedima Records

Dave Preston’s ambient debut album, “BE” carried charting success and continues to grow. Now, the highly anticipated sophmore release from Dave Preston, “Soundtrack For Motion” features ambient music giant MINGO with various other cast and characters.

The second ambient release from Denver-based guitarist Dave Preston, “Soundtrack For Motion” is a meditation of motion and movement in all it’s forms, both physical or metaphysical. Preston mines the terrain where ambient, experimental and minimalism converge.

Dave produces tones that rarely betray their origin on the electric guitar as they are processed, delayed, distorted and looped to create complex harmonies and timbres.

The marvels of modern technology sustain the sound of a picked string, or transform a strummed chord into a softshimmering wave that rises and falls out of nowhere. As he did in his ambient debut “Be“, Preston intricately weaves uncommon intensity and passion into the sonic landscape and manages to accomplish something rare: ambient music that is capable of a wide range of feelings.

From the transcendent “Blind Lovers Hand In Hand“, the near sacred rage of “The Blood In Your Veins“, and the wailing of “A Giant Leap Of Faith” to the “Blade Runner” atmospherics of “Spinning Away From The Earth” (a collaboration with Mingo), “Soundtrack To Motion” shows signifigant growth and maturing of Preston as an ambient artist. I apprecitate the precision of Dave’s playing. The quality and emotiveness of the compositions will definitely give the listener a thirst formore of his work. Dave has produced amasterpiece of guitar atmospherics containing some of the most beautiful, lush, slow-moving textures you will ever encounter, here on Soundtrack For Motion.

  • Sonic Curiousty Review "Soundtrack For Motion" (July 2010)

This CD from 2010 features 53 minutes of delicate guitar ambience.

Joining guitarist Preston on this release are: Sam Gathman, and Glowing House (Steve Varney and Jess Parsons).

Airy guitar is utilized to produce atmospheric music of a deeply introspective nature. Instead of going the processed route and exploring eerie unguitar-like sounds, Preston chooses to play his guitar in a very fragile manner, expressing winsome chords that drift and undulate, conveying an extreme sense of relaxation. Strummed chords waft on subtle breezes, generating a serene congeniality. In a few instances, the notes are nimble-fingered but retain a gentle character.

Ah, but ambient purists needn’t fret; there are instances in which the guitar is manipulated to achieve a textural sound, producing fluid soundscapes of tenuous definition and glistening beauty.  Some percussion is featured, lending suitably understated tempos to a few tracks. On one occasion, the beats are treated into slushy impacts of an engaging certification.  Some keyboards are employed in minor roles, and violin endows the last track with a recital attitude.  A few pieces have soft vocals, one of them basically non-lyrical crooning of a chorale nature.

These compositions capture an endearing tranquility and infuse that calm with a rich emotional disposition. The temperament is a mellow one, seeking to mesmerize the listener and incite contemplation to freely occur.

  • Tragic Kingdom Reviews "Soundtrack For Motion" (July 2010)

For the past couple of years, I have had the pleasure of seeing this month’s featured artist, Dave Preston, play all over Denver.  And while his raw and natural talent has been featured alongside some great artists, including Paula Cole, Trace Bundy, and One Eskimo, it’s his ambient guitar work, from his debut release BE, that has been recognized across the globe.  After receiving internationally syndicated radio play, as well as being featured nationally on NPR, the release debuted in September of 2008 on the New Age Reporter Charts at number 91, shooting to number 66 the following month.

That same year, Preston was selected to join the band of an artist that is no stranger to Tragic Kingdom, Matt Morris.  Morris and Preston immediately began rehearsing for the promotional tour surrounding the release of Matt’s debut album, When Everything Breaks Open.  During their time together, the pair began working on a track that Preston had featured on his first release, titled “BE-JOY”.  The duo took what was already great and turned it into a single-worthy pop tune which appeared on Morris’ debut.  The track, “Just Before The Morning”, was co-produced by the head of Morris’ label, Justin Timberlake, and was considered for the lead single.

And now, two years later, after appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, Lopez Tonight, and playing gigs with both Justin Timberlake and Charlie Sexton, Dave Preston is returning to his ambient sounds on his sophomore release, “Soundtrack For Motion”.  The release, which features ambient music giantMingo, is describes as ‘a meditation of motion and movement in all its forms, both physical and metaphysical’. The album, available on iTunes now, features a wide range of emotional depth showcasing the talented guitarist’s growth as an ambient artist.

Tragic Kingdom is happy to add one of the nicest and most creative individuals I’ve met, Dave Preston, to the growing list of featured talents. It is his creative and unique talents that will undoubtedly one day earn him praise for his incredible scores for major motion pictures, worthy of Academy Awards. I will continue to keep following this artist on the rise, ready to help celebrate his continued successes along the way. 

  • Crush Music Magazine Interview by Jason Schleweis (May 2010)

Every once in a while, we come across an artist who pushes the boundaries of music so far, it’s nearly impossible to believe it all comes from one person. In Preston’s own words, he fuses music theory with music therapy; in our words, his music ends up being some of the most inspirational and thought provoking ambient work we’ve ever heard.

Typically that would be enough for one person to call it a career. Yet Preston’s ambitious and infectious style of play also gained the attention of Matt Morris, who invited him to become a permanent member of his band back in 2008. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of appearances on late night television including David Letterman and George Lopez, day time sessions with Ellen DeGeneres, and promotional performances with Justin Timberlake.

In other words, if you aren’t familiar with this ground breaking artist yet, you will be in the very near future. Continue reading to learn everything about Preston’s latest album Soundtrack in Motion, his inspirations for creating music, and future plans with Matt Morris.

I know your new ambient album Soundtrack in Motion just released about a week ago. How does it feel to finally have your sophomore album complete and released?
It’s a relief! It’s been about a year and a half in the making. There’s been a lot of maturing that took place between the first album and the second album; not only physically but emotionally. My ears have changed so much, and the capacity to make it soar emotionally, and getting into the music that way and opening it up more. I took a trip to Africa during when Be, the first album, charted. I was in an orphanage and had Internet like twice, and I saw that I charted at 66. And I didn’t even think anything of it; I was just like “OK” (Laughter) and closed the laptop and went back out to the kids. And that really changed things for me. I got back and was working on the album and a lot of it didn’t make sense until later. So, it feels great! I’ve really just been wanting to get this out! (Laughter)

So how has the reception been to the new album?
Great! Not a bad thing…it’s been out about a week. I think with this particular style of music, I personally find it hard to categorize. I have favorite acts in the new age, ambient category but definitely I do find it hard to compare to other people. Overall it’s just a piece that flows very well together. A lot of people are liking it. I’m really glad about that; I hope it can help people at certain times, that’s why I do it.

One thing that is really interesting to me is that for being a Denver songwriter, it appears your ambient work receives more attention and success internationally. What do you think contributes to your success overseas, which is maybe backwards from the “traditional” method of gaining exposure?
You know, I’m not sure! That is pretty wild when you got a lot of sales from Mongolia, Japan, or Europe. I’ve got some ambient friends that are gigantic names in Europe, but they live here and can barerly book a show [in town] for ambient [music]. It’s very interesting, but I have to remind myself that it’s music. I can’t imagine playing an ambient show here in town and drawing a lot of people. And I’m not sure if that’s just because a lot of people don’t know about it, or maybe appreciate it as much. But I do feel like, in the town that I live in, it’s still my thing and I can distribute it internationally and have it do what it’s going to do. And here in town I can go play my own songs and I’ll back people. This style of music is very personal and it’s very personal to me, but when I started backing people and learning what ambient music does in songs, I can approach songs so many different ways.

I’ve seen a few different reviews on your ambient work and it’s been said that your music could be set to “Academy Award” winning movies because it is so powerful, diverse and introspective. How does so much incredible music come from just one person? How do you come up with new music?  

You just kind of try to keep your mind open. Sometimes it takes a while to understand why you do things. I’ve been very fortunte to have been able to play music as long as I have, and just understand it the way I have. I really just look forward to everything more to come with it. People are very supportive, but it’s just making music the only way I know how.

Typically it’s hard enough for people to tour and support one album or project at a time; but you have two (ambient and Matt Morris). How do you keep up?!
I don’t! (Laughter) The stuff with Matt [Morris] is incredible and the best thing I’ve ever heard. I mean that. Matt is a very, very skilled, smart musician. And the people he attracts in the music business world and in the music world are kind of the same cloth. It is a balancing act, but that’s just how I play music. I just try to approach it for the song and live in the song. It all stems from the songwriting part, but then I became a session guy, and understanding your voice as a session guy…I absolutely love playing with Matt, but the ambient stuff is my own nice little side thing that I get to promote and keep track of and hold close to me. When people actually understand the ambient music, it feels like you’re actually touching their soul. So yeah, I don’t know how I juggle both of them to get back to your question. (Laughter)

What’s the key to keeping the two projects unique and seperate from each other? Or don’t you try, and you just let them flow into each other?
Oh absolutely I do [let them flow into each other]. I do on purpose. Everybody I play with, you just approach the song the way you hear it and try to make an adjustment on what’s supposed to be best. On Matt’s [Morris] music, he had on his record…and I’m very proud to have played on it with the names you have and the guitarists, including Charlie Sexton, who’s just a guitar god…the way that he plays guitar is very easy for me to understand. So when I first heard Matt’s record and all of the mid-range instruments and keyboard sounds that are easy to make on a guitar, it did make a lot of sense. So I knew that it wasn’t going to be a big challenge to recreate a lot of the [ambient work into When Everything Breaks Open]. It just fits!

Since joining up with Matt Morris, you guys have went on to huge successes. You’ve played about every morning and late night show in the country and been travelling all over. What’s been going through your head for the last year or so?
Lot’s of practice! (Laughter) I was really lucky to have Soundtrack in Motion to keep putting myself into. A lot of thinking about Matt’s [Morris] songs in as many ways as I can. It does have a lot of an improv feel, but we know the songs inside and out and we could probably play them backwards. Matt could probably sing them backwards (Laughter). So over the past year it’s been weird trying to juggle everything, playing with other local acts. But I’m very lucky to have had Soundtrack in Motion to put a lot of creativity into.

Knowing that Justin Timberlake was the co-producer on “Just Before the Morning,” what’s it like to have someone of his stature in the music business step forward and have faith in you guys and really support what you’re doing?
Justin, after meeting him, it was pretty obvious that he was a guy who is on top of the moment culturally. He’s very in-tune with what’s going on with trends, and he’s a trend setter for sure. And having someone like that say that your music is fantastic and willing to put his name behind it and push for it, is just a huge compliment. It makes you really feel like you’re doing something right, or better yet, not that you’re doing something right, but what you’re feeling was legitimate. What you recorded was legitimate. Almost meant to be I guess you could say. Justin is a great guy and added a lot of wonderful ideas to that song, so it became a wonderful collaboration with everyone involved.

How do you think your commercial success with Matt Morris has affected you as an artist? Obviously it can open a lot of new doors and opportunities? How have you been able to draw on that?
As far as the business goes, it’s opened my eyes to how much the artist is in control of a lot of things. I think now more than ever that’s really important to know. How good, quality music will always be in demand, no matter what the state of the business world is. Because it’s kind of up in the air; it shifts and can go in any direction. But having that sense of good music… and letting people interested in your music know that you’ll always deliver a good product…I don’t think product is even the right word to say…but maybe you’ll always have the right things to say for them lyrically.

It’s actually very interesting that you said you’re now aware of how much the artist is in control of. I’ve talked to a lot of bands that don’t feel that way; who feel that the industry has gotten a hold of them and made them do things creatively that they don’t want to do.

Absolutely, I’ve been really fortunate to be a part of guys like Justin Timberlake, Matt Morris, and Charlie Sexton who are very creative minds. It’s great because when I play with Matt, there’s no limits put on any creativity. I feel like a lot of my ideas aren’t taken for granted, but that they’re waiting for them to come out. So am I! (Laughter) But I’m very lucky to not be told what to play. And I feel like that with ambient music too. I can sit down and write an ambient tune and record an ambient album and say “whatever it is, it’s going to be.” And it feels great when other people appreciate that. I do feel bad for artists and bands that do have that cap put on them though.

What’s next for you? Either as an ambient artist or with Matt Morris? Any big new appearances, tours, etc. coming up?

Well with Matt, Interscope is going to repackage his album [When Everything Breaks Open] and release it in July. It’s going to be a wonderful thing, we’re all really looking forward to it. We’re going to be hitting the road with Ingrid Michaelson in June to do some tours and different shows starting up in New York, and I think going down to Bonnaroo. [Matt] has a very exciting year ahead of him, and anywhere he goes the band is sure to follow! (Laughter) With my ambient stuff, it’s been out for about a week and it’s just been blowing up and I’m getting ready to do a nice little radio promo. And I’m hoping to chart again, and ride that wave as long as it’ll go! It just feels good to have [Soundtrack in Motion] out and let other people hear it and grow around the songs.