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Album Review

Much like his close friend and creative kindred spirit Keith Fullerton Whitman, Greg Davis has a knack for getting so much out of so little. His quiet, wispy guitar work and serene odes to the organic world have crafted the way for many a laptop-savvy performer to come out of the closet, folk records in tow, and blend the two in an extraordinary way. Picking up where 2003's outstanding Curling Pond Woods left off, Somnia is a juxtaposition of contrasting temperatures: warm swelling tones and basslines over slowly shifting melodies that leave a feeling of dry coldness, much like the photos of frozen tundra on the album's cover. "Archer" easily sets the mood for what is to come: drones made from a single organic instrument recombined over and over, weaving notes into one another until they fade away, inevitably replaced by ones swelling up from underneath them. The solitude of "Clouds as Edges" easily bests the emotional droning any Icelandic quartet could have bellowed forth. The warmth of the epic "Campestral" could very well usher in sleep, but the brittle organ chords of "Furnace" will quickly remedy that situation, an appropriate gateway and ramp up to the album's finale, the haunting and isolate howls of "Mirages." It's a departure from Davis' leanings to simple folk/laptop songs, but it's also beautiful experimental music that warrants a serious listen.

Customer Reviews

Somnia - Greg Davis

I am a big fan of music of the ambient-electronic-newage-soundscape variety, but I must say this album feels like it was phoned in over a weekend. (Yes, it was purchased and downloaded over a phone line - on a weekend - but you know what I mean! No pun intended). I understand and appreciate minimalism, and I enjoy music that is meant to waft unobtrusively in the background, but this is less than all of that. The textures are not very sophisticated and it does not sound like much programming effort could have gone into most of the sounds heard here. Far less effort seems to have gone into building anything of remotely musical interest. Endless droning of chordal sine waves and other unpleasant patches does not an album make. I would instead recommend Steve Roach, a prolific and vastly diverse composer in this genre for nearly 25 years. (No, I'm not Steve Roach.)


Born: 1976 in Crystal Lake, IL

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

The classically-trained Greg Davis, who has largely helped to define subgenres such as folktronica, laptop folk, and pastoral electronica, creates intricate and subtle compositions that merge organic, computer-generated sounds with warm, natural tones, live instrumentation, and field recordings, while referencing artists like Boards of Canada, Brian Wilson and the Incredible String Band. At Depaul University in Chicago, Davis studied classical and jazz guitar, as well as composition and Jazz Studies....
Full Bio
Somnia, Greg Davis
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Customer Ratings

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