Album Review: Benny D Williams | Digital Caveman

Local one-man-band Benny D Williams, self professed multi instrumentalist, soulman and entertainer, has had a veritable grab-bag of musical monikers thrown his way to describe his dazzlingly rich tapestry of sound.

From the more obvious journalistic touch points of blues, roots, soul, hip hop and psychedelia, through to more rambunctious descriptors such as trip funk, Williams brews a rich and heady stew of sounds on his lonesome, usually involving shifting combinations of human beat box, psych laced keyboards, tribal/ethnic fused percussion, roots and funk guitar and future funk style treated vocals.

A hard working board treader with over 200 shows to his name in 2015, Williams’ latest release, the contrarily titled Digital Caveman, was recorded live at Sunhouse in Coolangatta.

Lead off track Sumin Lil Warmup commences with Benny punching out a human beat box rhythm before leisurely unwinding the twine across it’s eight and a half minutes of err..trip funk!? Musically it bears passing similarities to the more accessible moments of Californian tripper Cameron Stallones and his wigged out musical project Sun Araw.

Cities of Gold starts with a Latin-tinged flourish before locking into an insistent guitar and drum groove underpinned with electronic and vocal effects.

Track three embraces human beat box and percussion, augmented by acoustic guitar flourishes, layered, echo laden vocals and trippy keyboards layered with what sounds like harmonica and South American pipes. It invokes epic travels or an alien broadcast beamed down to the peak of the Andes from a mythical musical constellation known as err…Gemini!

Prior to hearing the track Shoowop, I contemplated whether a futuristic doo-wop track would be next on the menu? And that wasn’t too wide of the mark, with Williams conjuring a retro-future kaleidoscope of sounds, this time augmented with a funk inflected vocal performance (yep he can sing alright too!) melding the track across genres and decades with impressive seamlessness. As Matt Webber of ABC Radio 91.7 rightly pointed out when describing Benny’s shtick, “one man, so many sounds”

Curious Joe is a brief (by Benny standards) mid point interlude, a pretty, folk infused acoustic guitar and tapped percussive number leading into the second half of the record..Where highlights continue to abound, from the ethno future-funk of Eternal Bliss to the electro-beat boxing strains of Free Falling.

And Where is the Love is a folk inflected, meditative finale, bringing to a close a pleasing sequence of head nodding sonic journeys to the outer reaches of that curious one man genre known officially forthwith as trip funk!

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