Derrick V. Higgins has been an active figure in the Omaha music scene for a long time. He has played with numerous bands, among them RAF, Digital Sex, and Akita Mani Yo.
Combining the esthetics of alternative rock with experimental electronics, Higgins' solo music is refreshing and entertaining--and assuredly worthy of wider attention.
DERECK V. HIGGINS: Dereck 2 (CDR on DVH Recordings)
This release from 2004 features 38 minutes of modern rock.
Engaging guitar strains unfurl with dreamy disposition. Strumming strings establish a pleasantly sedate milieu, while strident electric guitar sears with stellar properties that leave permanent mental scars--the kind of wounds that you remember fondly and return to with endearing frequency.
Electronics provide a foggy environment that frequently surges from a background drone to adopt more substantial harmonic presence. Pulsating with liquid consistency, these textures furnish the music with a golden foundation not unlike a summer pond unblemished by ripples.
Sturdy percussion contributes appropriate propulsion, whether those beats are languid and designed to mesmerize or whether the rhythms convey an ebullience crafted to exhilarate.
Haunting vocals croon from a lofty vantage, describing conventional elements with a strange detachment that bestows heavenly attributes on such things as open doors that lead to unknown adventures and lost dogs who become faithful companions.
The compositions are affable and temperate, intended to bewitch rather than agitate. While rooted in a gentle form of rock, the tunes utilize distinctly modern sensibilities, achieving an appeal that crosses genres and will tantalize audiences who normally prefer grittier terrain.
DERECK V. HIGGINS: DVH (CDR on DVH Recordings)
This release from 2005 features 38 minutes of experimental soundscapes.
There is more of a processed presence on this release, as Higgins explores treated sounds and embarks on splicing together pastiches of eerie personality. This evolution provides an edginess to his comfortable sound that is wholly fruitful.
Electronics flourish here, establishing ghostly ambience that spreads like a tenuous mist of soothing disposition. Whirling pulsations rise to audibility like smirking beasts, content to remain unobtrusive.
Environmental sounds of an urban nature are employed, from clogged traffic to bicycle bells, generating an interesting connection to the real world amid the generally unearthly character of the music.
Percussion becomes a sultry thing on this release, less constant and thereby more stimulating. Most of the tracks, though, exist sans rhythms.
The guitar still plays a vital role, but the resultant sounds are masked by processing and present a distinctly unguitarlike deportment.
There are no vocals this time, although voices are sampled and delivered in collage snippets..
The structure for most of this music is decidedly more abstract than on Higgins' prior release. The tunes exemplify a freedom from traditional mode, exploring primal territories of sonic consistency and discovering realms of agitated ambience, even musique concrete.
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