- Colorado Music Buzz Review "BE" (Aug 2008)
Dave Preston, an accomplished guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, took a different direction with his latest effort, Be. The Ambient/Electronica concept album, with song titles such as “Be-Creative”, “Be-Alive” and “Be-ing” all share the rudiment philosophy of keeping a common key and building off it with unique soundscapes and ethereal backdrops. There are evident Depeche Mode minus Dave Gahan reverberations ala Songs of Faith and Devotion present throughout. With its romantic and boundless sound journey, the quality recording does put you in a semi deep thought pattern that in some ways is better listened to alone. Preston commented “It was relieving to have no anatomy. The freedom to swell textures and place sounds anywhere within harmonious space gave me the liberation needed to design the moods I did.” Hope Preston continues to explore and push the limits further.
- Phil Derby ES Review "BE" (May 2008)
Ambient with an edge; that?s what I?d call this CD by Dave Preston, simply called Be. Although Preston himself calls the music ambient, it defies easy categorization. Strange haunting tones emanate from his guitar and other sources. Be Creative starts the disc with an atmospheric touch, but then drums come pounding in. The contrast between the ethereal textures and the heavy beats reminds me of early Cocteau Twins, though definitely with its own twist on things. It is much more powerful and visceral than most ambient. Be Ing is quieter but still with a hint of restlessness as things are intentionally left just a bit rough around the edges, the guitars allowing slight distortion or static to enter into the mix. I particularly like how this one continues floating about for a minute after it seems to have faded away. Be Joy is somewhere between the assertiveness of the first and the moody anxious calm of the second. The musical phrasing here is deceptively simple but appealing. Be True strips down to the bare essentials, a sparse piece that radiates warmth, as does Be Alive, aided by beautiful wordless female vocals. After a very soft beginning this ends up being one of the most accessible tunes with an almost pop sensibility as a steady, easygoing beat carries it along. Be Different, despite the name, is probably the most conventional new age guitar piece on the album, though I suppose on an album of edgy ambience that IS different. Both male and female vocals on Be Hope form a dream-like mood to bring things to a close.
- Hypnagogue Review "BE" (May 2008)
From the first guttural threat that coils up out of Dave Preston’s guitar on “Be Creative,” the opening track of his debut CD, Be, you know you’re in for a good ride. An undeniable beat on well-slammed drums rises up alongside the layered chords, the track takes wing and Preston’s got you hooked. Be is an excellent rookie effort from an engaging guitarist who knows how to pull his instrument back toward an ambient drift and then jam it forward to a rock-driven wail, and he balances both nicely. “Be Creative” leads into the hushed air of “Be Ing,” where voices meld with an electronic warble that comes and goes, bordering—particularly later in the track—on being detracting. (There are spots on the disk where it feels like Preston’s trying to wedge a bit of twiddle in the wrong spot just for the sake of being more electronic than guitar-ic, but it never entirely pushes past the line.) “Be Joy” opens with a splay of harsh and somewhat misplaced chords before settling into an almost pastoral vibe. (These ears hear a mandolin—they could easily be mistaken.) It’s a gentle, rhythmic passage, the essence of “nice.” “Be True” enters on slow-handed glissandos as something a little more rough tries to bubble up beneath. This is a track I admit I don’t entirely get. The interference that Preston throws in mars rather than enhances the track. It’s like a slash wound across something that could have been augmented more subtly, as he did in “Be Ing.” I am thorougly addicted to the next track, “Be Alive,” which builds up, layer by easy, intriguing layer, to a sort of early-Oldfield-like density of sound. (Yes, I reference Oldfield entirely too much, but I’m a fan and that’s what I hear…) A lonely guitar, a distant voice, high plucked notes, a beat that echoes the one on “Be Creative”…it’s interesting to aurally watch Preston pick and place his elements. Midstream he pares the track back to the beat and the voice, prepares the listener up with a bit of electronic accent and, in an absolutely gorgeous moment, drops everything, every full layer he’s built, perfectly constructed, perfectly complemented and in full force, back into the mix and it consistently sends a shiver up my spine. This is the highlight of the disk and it should be getting (and is!) play on ambient/electronic radio shows everywhere. “Be Different” is a soft and simple bit of folksy guitar work that’s a pleasant distraction from the more electronic intentions on the disk. The mind’s eye can easily picture Dave out on the porch on a starry night, just playing quietly to the universe. “Be Something” rides on a hypnotic tide of sine wave chords nudging their way to shore over something of a white-noise rumble. A simple but effective track that pulls you in for a deeper listen. The disk closes with “Be Hope,” a dramatic, soaring track where Preston’s elegant playing backs wordless, prayer-like vocals. Preston is already getting a fair amount of notice in the genre community for Be, and it’s well deserved. It’s a thoughtful, well-constructed work that effectively straddles styles without seeming forced. It’s a disk I go back to often, and I eagerly await more work from Dave Preston. Be made me a fan.