Reviews for ‘In Between Silence’
“If you’re as talented a guitarist as David Youngs, the temptation to blind listeners with dazzling technique, to the point where melodies disappear among the tapping, harmonics and percussion, must be great. So all power to Youngs who’s come up with a clutch of incredibly varied instrumentals. The waterfall of hammered notes on ‘And So It Goes’ is breathtaking – before it’s all change on ‘Mutster’, a folky epic recalling Jansch and Renbourn. Moving on, the complex chordal patterns and detuned guitar of ‘Troisième’ take a leaf out of Michael Hedges’ book, before the bewitching ‘Pieces Of Me’, a mesmeric tune that you will hear in wonder. A stunning album.”
Acoustic Magazine – Winter Quarterly 2016 (CD featured track and review)
“In 2011, acoustic instrumentalist David Youngs released his debut album, Transcience, about which Guitarist said at the time: “a chameleonic set of pieces…” and his latest long-player, In Between Silence follows that trend. All modern techniques can be found within David’s playing – percussive body slapping, two-handed fretboard work and so on – but it’s the music that speaks louder than the way it’s produced. The compositions range from the epic opening track (over eight minutes in length) to moody, introspective lyricism and back again to boisterous melodicism. It’s technically flawless throughout and, in places, grooves like a mad badger. Look out for him on the live circuit as we suspect this is where the fireworks really happen. Standout track: Mono No Aware. For fans of: Mike Dawes, Chris Woods.”
Northern Sky Magazine
“David Youngs is a melodic, quirky and an always interesting guitar player, if me telling you that isn’t enough, then it should be abundantly clear by the end of this his latest album. From the first notes of Where Memories Go the opener, a combination of his technique and his ability to weave in the unexpected holds your attention. Where Memories Go is a brave nine minutes long, but there is no plodding, or sense that it overstays its welcome. For the first few minutes, a percussive attack, that recalls Michael Hedges, is melded with wonderful melodies that evoke the pastoral acoustic early Pat Metheny. Little touches of effects and sparkle fade in and out. The final section builds around a wonderful folk finger-picked motif that is cinematic in the way it creates an atmosphere and a sense of space. And So It Goes is wonderful twister with some very rhythmic percussive playing that is compelling, but restrained without any of the histrionics that can creep in.
What marks David Youngs out, is the way that he can musically change gear in the middle of a piece, as he does with the middle section of And So It Goes, so maintaining your wonderment right up until the last resonating string fades away. Mutster is an older piece with a wonderful folky feel that brings to mind the dancing fingers of John Renbourn. But again some very dubby studio flourishes with reverb keep you guessing up until the end. To Catch A Star is an exercise in balance, with the ying of some very trippy percussive playing balanced by yang passages all about space and the picking of the strings. Chevrons Apart, taken at a slower more contemplative pace, is a piece about distance and the space between people.
Just when you thought if was all about the darting fingers, Youngs, builds an emotional tension by slowing the tempo right down. Pieces of Me is a wonderfully simple melody with some wonderfully flourishes thrown in just before a demon passage of phasing that sounds disturbingly like a cassette getting wrapped round the inside of your player – a little retro torment for those of us old enough to remember the hell of the tape. Mono No Aware continues this contemplative eye of the storm with a drifting languid melody. Troisieme is a track composed using a dropped tuning introduced by Michael Hedges and as a kind of homage, some of his flourishes are dropped in at the start, before the track builds into a a frenzy of picking that breaks, with some tape devilment as a gear change. Pearls, a title that I like to think nods to David Youngs’ ability to reveal his playing in layers, evokes the rambling French Chateau where it was written, the notes and spaces suggesting long corridors and wooden floors.
The final track Katy, Again book ends the album as confidently and comprehensively as Where Memories Go. This final piece is all about space, allowing you to lose yourself in the space between the low bass notes and the chiming melody picked over the top. Enthralling and shifting, just when you think you’ve got him figured out, a percussive thump on the guitar body or a tempo shift calls a change in this six stringed, ‘acoustic guitar barn dance’ of a player. An album and a guitarist that you can fall into, so time just slips away.”
“In Between Silence is the second album from Cambridge-based acoustic guitarist and composer David Youngs. Its eleven tracks are all original compositions opening with the nine-minute ‘Where Memories Go’ which begins with ringing, almost clashing chords and develops through the most delicate fingerpicking following a complex logic of its own. The second track, ‘And So It Goes’, picks up on the percussive style of the opener, a favoured technique. There is no lack of variety, however, and ‘Chevrons Apart’ is a charmingly simple piece that just drifts along.
‘Mutster’ is an old piece written when David was in Africa and employs that distinctive time-signature that seems as though it can never resolve but will roll on forever. The title of ‘Samahita’ comes from Sanskrit while ‘Pieces Of Me’ is probably the nearest that the album comes to being straightforward, ending in a hypnotic figure that finally winds down to its conclusion. My favourite track is probably ‘To Catch A Star’ with its insistent train rhythm, body percussion and the occasional whistle in the distance. Superb.
I’m not sure when I would play In Between Silence. You can’t really relax to it, although there are relaxing passages, because it really requires concentration and David never hangs on to an idea for too long which means that, just as you’ve settled into a piece it’s likely to take off in another direction. To use it as background music would be an insult to a fine record and yet it lends itself to that function.
“In Between Silence” is the latest release from Cambridgeshire multi-instrumentalist David Youngs. I know David’s work from his percussive acoustic guitar work, so was particularly delighted to receive this offering for review. Others may know his work on the Halo steel pan drum, of course – two very different instruments but with a common theme of percussion and rhythm running through them, maybe? Loathe as I am to sum up this album with a comparison, I’d say it would instantly appeal to fans of some of the better percussive-guitar players out there: Preston Reed, Michael Hedges and even bits of Antonio Forcione (with a smattering of Windham Hill) instantly spring into my head when I listen to it. A lovely aspect of David’s playing is the fact that the melodies of the tunes never seem to give way to the technique – very often not the case with such music. David has a very full and informative website which outlines a lot of his work, approach and general activities (www.davidyoungs.net). I was sorry to see that David currently has no live performances anywhere, but I will definitely try to catch him as soon as I can.
Reviews for ‘Transience’
“Percussive acoustic picking with a heart… David Youngs’ syncopated, tapped harmonic intro to Transience is a clear and unambiguous announcement – this is the arrival of a talented addition to the ranks of elite acoustic stylists who’ve followed in the footsteps of the late, much lamented Eric Roche. Youngs channels his jaw-dropping rhythmic mastery into a chameleonic set here. Like his mentor Preston Reed, he imbues his playing on tracks such as Dust, You and Me (with its compressed swells) and Sun Spirit with great timing, character and an emotional intensity. It adds up to a human quality that can be the missing link between incredible technique and musical meaning.”
“Right from the opening cut ‘71210388’, it’s clear that this debut instrumental album from Cambridge-based acoustic guitarist, David Youngs, is rather special. Soaring harmonics, rapid picking, string bends and a wide range of timbres enhance the piece’s intricate melodies, interwoven with unusual time signatures. Carefully controlled, Youngs’ work has a delightful deftness – reminiscent of Eric Roche and Michael Hedges – and with bags of brooding power lurking beneath. He cuts loose on the punchy ‘Dust, You and Me’, turns in mesmerising, complex picking on ‘Sun Spirit’, produces impressive textures on ‘Technomantra’ and closes things in a mellow mood with ‘Sea Shapes’. Crisply recorded at Youngs’ home studio, it’s a shining example of acoustic guitar instrumental playing at its finest. Highly recommended.”
Sound On Sound Magazine
“The mark of a good mix is that your ear is drawn to the music rather than the engineering. In this case, the ear immediately forgets about reverbs and EQ, and sends startled messages along the lines of ‘Bloody hell, how does he do that?!’… Transience is an album of solo acoustic guitar pieces, and Youngs’s musicianship is quite simply astonishing. He specialises in the kind of percussive effects and rapid-fire two-handed tapping pioneered by guitarists like Eric Roche. What’s more, his extraordinary technical ability is married with genuine compositional talent, so that nothing here comes across as empty showboating. A sympathetic mix is, as it should be, just the icing on the cake.”
“Ready. Take a deep breath. Press Play. Off you go… A lot of artists’ press blurbs talk about ‘musical journeys’, but in the case of David Youngs’ debut this really does seem the seem the best way to think about this self-penned set of acoustic guitar instrumentals. Right from the opening ‘71210388’, the percussive tapping and fluid jazzy runs, coupled with enticingly tricky time signatures, make this the aural equivalent of cycling the wrong way round Hyde Park Corner: crazy but absolutely exhilarating. Weightless and busy as a balloon full of bees, this is a disc of virtuoso playing that somehow manages to avoid even the slightest whiff of showing off. Its technique in the service of a good time, with precise melodic flurries rooted deep in the body as well as the mind, nowhere more so than on the funky, driving ‘Technomantra’. Though trying to define Youngs’ sound is a fruitless activity, I’m reminded of Michael Hedges’ tongue-in-cheek shots at self-categorisation, most particularly ‘new edge’: Youngs’ compositions are plumped full of depth and atmosphere, but you sure as hell aren’t going to use them to soundtrack meditation.”
“Cambridge-based David has focused his attention on developing a particular type of picking. This has certainly reaped dividends because his playing ability is akin to Derrin Nauendorf; if David’s gigs are anything like the aforementioned New Zealand artist, they will be remarkable. Although this is his debut album, David performs as though he has been proudly releasing records in a steady stream. Out of the nine tunes featured, “Sea Shapes” impresses the most. With a crowd-pleasing sound, this song conjures up all types of imagery and it would be criminal if it didn’t appear in a leading independent film. A follow up to this delightful album must materialise soon.”
Chris Woods Groove
“Currently listening to your most exceptional CD. I’m a fan! You’ve got that slap harmonic thang nailed”
Visit website by clicking here – highly recommended guitar, both technically and musically.
“I sincerely hope this great album doesn’t get banished along with naff panpipe collections and whale music in the section labelled New Age. It would be understandable if it did, but tragic nonetheless. Once upon a time New Age was a term whichhad a certain kudos, suggestsing, as it did, music which didnt fit older descriptions like classical or jazz but contained examples of the technical virtuosity found in those genres. David Youngs is a technical maestro on the guitar who draws inspiration from all kinds of everywhere to produce a music with all the finesse of Vivaldi or Bach and all the excitement of heavy rock. It isn’t folk, jazz, classical or (ahem) New Age. It is just plain mesmerising.”
“The PR-notes quote from the Cambridge Folk Club is actually an accurate summation of my initial reaction to this man’s new album ‘…we met David…we were knocked out…’ So was I, because ‘Transience’ is pretty special. Essentially, David Youngs is a picker and a plucker of guitars, in a similar vein to Pat Metheny or John Abercrombie – in short, Youngs can play with the best of them… The album starts with a few pretty technical (and just plain pretty) tunes, including the standount ‘Among the Greenery’. Much of the album is derived from personal moments in Youngs’ life – ‘Transience’ is beguiling for the most part… for fans of acoustic instrumentals everywhere – especially in a remote setting”.
Blues Matters Magazine
“David Youngs, one time jazz drummer and bass player, is now getting into the business of turning himself into a songwriter, but one with jazz sensibilities, arrangements and all round fiddly bits. Now before we go on further, blues purists should really pack up and move on to the next review, because there isn’t really much for you here, but people who like Eric Roche, Wes Montgomery, John Abercrombie and others of their ilk, will find a lot to enjoy here…. its certainly not the blues, but its definitely interesting”
“With the tragic death of Bert Jansch this year, there’s a gap for an acoustic guitar, finger picking styled predominantly folk guitarist and David Youngs might be just the man to pick up the mantle. Based in the Cambridge area and to date having mainly played in that region, “Transcience” is the album to seek out wider recognition and on this showing, I can’t see it long in coming. I’m not an expert on guitar tunings, but there is some almost Arabesque that gets slipped into the mix on a couple of tunes.”
Read the interview with David in the May 2012 edition of Acoustic Magazine, in their featured column ‘Retune Your Ears’ by Paul Strange.
From a technical perspective the wide dynamic range and intricate, complex nature of David’s music provides interesting and demanding engineering challenges during the recording and mixing stages of production. As such David’s work has been reviewed and featured in hi-tech audio technology magazines worldwide and on music technology websites, with articles detailing how best to capture and process David’s type of acoustic guitar playing.
To find out more please click here to visit the Audio Tech page on this site.