CD Review

David E. Williams - "Hello Columbus"

By Marcus Pan

Hello ColumbusHello Columbus is the latest release by Philadelphia area musician David E. Williams. Williams is a strange lad, mixing in white noise along with the work of the Acadamy Quartet string ensemble along with a host of other musicians. With three tracks, Hello Columbus is a somewhat mesmerizing coagulation of scraping sound and orchestrated cacophony. David's vocals are low and introspective - and the lyrics are quite esoteric.

He has been at it for just over five years now, or at least has been releasing material for that time anyway. On CD he has I Have Forgotton How To Love You and A House For the Dead and A Porch For the Dying in addition to Hello Columbus. His latest effort is his first to be recorded in an analog rather than digital medium, so says his press release, and the first track on the CD, named as the release, is a tribute to the "first American hero."

The one hurdle to my full enjoyment of Hello Columbus is unusual - it's David's voice. He has, like I said, an introspective sound, but I don't like it much. He drones out the lyrics in a drawl type of method…dragging them like hooked fish through a murky pond. The lyrics themselves, however - they're a different story. David's stanzas are fraught with thought-provoking quotes, esoteric meandering and trash-sex imagery. There are only three tracks on the Hello Columbus CD, so let's get started, shall we?

Kicking off with the strings coalesced together with scraping white noise, David opens up Hello Columbus with a track of the same name. The lyrics of this track - well, other than the choral repetitions of our good friend Chris' name, I have trouble seeing where they relate to Christopher Columbus and/or mainland discovery. They do get downright raunchy though, with vital imagery of rape and sodomy: "I penetrate her anus with a civilizing spirit." Or the last line: "Love lives infinitely when stripped of mutual consent."

David E. WilliamsNot a Gear at All is a slower starting ensemble with an almost comforting melody. The lyrics remain twisted and, in some areas, surreal. "I live to serve and serve to live so why don't I deserve to live?" Great word play there. His poetic verses are brilliant in many respects. "My soulmate died three years before she and I ever got to meet." Love lost before ever it was gained. Not a Gear at All remains slower and more melodious in its musical score than Hello Columbus did. The piece was put together quite well - classical in its appeal and devastatingly blunt in its poetry.

Closing this release is Listen Somewhat Awkward. This song is about the difficulties of relations between men and women. It's loud and abrasive with obnoxious squealing and rapid guitar riffs. The lyrics remain as slamming as ever here: "My heart, the victim of your reckless maintenance." I don't think I've ever heard of a broken heart phrased so eloquently. But there is a high-pitched note that remains throughout most of this song - it whines into your very skull. I feel that should be removed - it really is a high enough tone that I almost got a headache.

If ever you can call an orchestrated musical score raw and terrifying, this is it. I still think David should better his singing voice - maybe all it needs is more vibrato and less dragging to the words, or maybe his work and lyrics would be that much more powerful with someone else singing them. The musical score and instrumental arrangements, however, are well done and he keeps a controlled rhythm with a chaotic noise. And the lyrics are quite brilliant - edged with sarcasm and filled with near-horrific imagery.

Contact Information:
Post: Ospedale Records, P.O. Box 2422, Philadelphia, PA, 19147