Wednesday January 21, 2009·
Julian Williams' sound world is dosed with night shade and shaped by rare imagination. Fans of this long-serving cult figure's performance group, Hi God People, may wager the atmospheric depths of new solo disc, Liquidambar, and fall short; because added to the lessons in ceremonial tripping, beyond- human concerns, anti instrumentation and free vocal channelling dealt by that genius group, this album goes further, to truly malodorous depths, via dense multi-tracking and other 'voices speak to me' solo inspiration.
Joint released by the Spill label and venerated ex-pat Synaesthesia Records, Liquidambar sets guitars, organ and droning wind tones against walls of vocal harmony and treated, around- the-house type sounds. Instead of showy instrumentation and rhythms, there's clashing sonic combinations and painterly, inspired use of the mix. Songs switch from Barrett - like 'Baby Elephant Walk' numbers to groaning death fugues and puzzling sound collage, with Williams' startling lyricism and extended vocal delivery always up front.
Mystical and searching in the extreme, Williams has turned in a bottler of backyard surrealism that confirms him - if such a thing were in doubt - as key to Melbourne's current psych-primitivist crop; see Gugg, Inverted Crux and associates.