Brian Turner reviews Daniel Higgs Ancestral Songs on WFMU blog.
Daniel Higgs - Ancestral Songs (Holy Mountain)
Higgs is a member of the Pupils, but better known for his activity in Lungfish, where he instantly defined himself as somewhat of an enigma. You see a lot of people in this crazy muzak world flying the freak flag, but I've rarely seen/heard someone who's overall identity of extreme weirdness encompasses their music so much in a way that you know that the music itself is just one of many extensions of creative activity. And yeah, Higgs' visual art certainly reflects the same twisted imagery as his sounds; and the sounds themselves are stunning. Somewhat in the realm of the occult, but oddly positive and uplifting, using lo-fidelity and abstraction to great effect but never distorts the mirror of what's happening in this guy's mind. Ancestral Songs is a mesmerizing document of some far out musical shit, blaring jews' harp goes against toy piano "Moharsing and Schoenhut" both approached with total conviction (Higgs actually issued a disc of purely jews' harp recordings a few years back), there's resonating guitar that sounds nothing like a guitar, his voice modulates from whispers-plugged-direct into the soundboard to distant cosmic chants. Yes, America has gotten "new" and "weird" in these modern musical times with everyone under the sun donning ponchos and cranking out CDRs wrapped in leaves, but Higgs brings true eclecticism to the table and creates a great documentation of art rather than vagueness cloaked in a riddle. As puzzling as these sounds may be (half the time you cannot even figure out what the instrument itself is the way it's distorted or processed) you can clearly discern the purpose that exists behind them.