Recorded for pennies, her spectral, bewitching '99 debut available again
In 30 years’ time they’ll be cooing over Dog Leap Stairs with the reverence currently afforded to Nick Drake’s albums. Released on Williams’ own tiny label, it still sounds like an almost impossible moment of stillness?songs spun from sunlit motes of ancient dust, not notes of music. Emotionally unflinching, even the most exquisitely melancholic moments are shot through with a winning, no-nonsense realism: “I am no pig with its trotters on your plate,” she sings, fantastically, on “What Am I Doing Here?” over instrumentation that’s pure Happy/Sad-era Tim Buckley. Throughout, her voice is fresh and cool as dew on sleepy skin. Sparse and enthralling, this is simply magical music. With a voice and songs like these, who needed a budget?