David E. Williams - "Hello Columbus"
By Marcus Pan
Hello 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
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,
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
Not 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.
Records, P.O. Box 2422, Philadelphia, PA, 19147