David Eugene Edwards has always been larger than life. His music with innovative heavy droning folk band Wovenhand, and before that the haunting revivification of high lonesome sound antique Americana of 16 Horsepower breathed a near apocalyptic sense of urgency and power into musical archetypes long abandoned in the latter-20th Century. On his first-ever solo album under his own name, Hyacinth, David Eugene Edwards delivers a sound uniquely his own, with a vulnerability and introspection unheard from him before. Stripping back the heavy rock of his recent work with Wovenhand, Hyacinth puts the man's voice, and sparing instrumentation into the main focus.
There's a somber beauty and world-weary tone throughout these songs. The album could've been considered a slight return to the more melodic sounds of 16 Horsepower's Secret South (2000) and the first, self-titled Wovenhand album (2002). But there's more going on here: a rhythmic, pulsating undercurrent reminiscent of the tape loops and rudimentary rhythms of 80s Industrial post-punk as well as 808 Drill Style beats. The overall effect is often as if we're hearing the clock ticking away our own mortality. "Hyacinth was a sort of vision," Edwards says. "A dream. I sought out of my old wooden banjo and nylon string guitar a hidden path. Secrets they had kept from me within themselves all these years and created a new Mythos to myself of philosophical and spiritual ideas or concepts." Once he'd harnessed the music within, he enlisted multi-instrumentalist and producer Ben Chisholm (The Armed, Chelsea Wolfe, Converge) to help him realize the album's recording and mix. "Overall, the album is a weaving of narratives ancient and modern, of humankind's search for understanding of this world we find ourselves in and of each other. In all its simplicity and complexity," Edwards continues. "Hyacinth is a reference to the Greek myth of Apollo. And, the word meaning a precious stone and blue larkspur flower of purple and pall."