Review and photograph by Mike Hotter
Additional photographs by Timothy Reidy
The Upstate Artists Guild in Albany was privy to a rare visitation from Baltimore’s Daniel Higgs on the last night of last month. A semi-legendary figure who has made a conspicuous mark in the arcane worlds of both underground music and tattooing, Higgs, playing his banjo in a style reminiscent of the Japanese koto, was joined by Fumie Ishii for a set of intensely meditative music.
Songs seemed structured yet free-form, eventually giving way to Higgs’ poetic/bordering on the shamanic intimations of mortality, cosmos and the hereafter (A sample line: “Human beings are the best vessels in the universe”).
While to the uninitiated, Higgs solo can be quite an ordeal because of the starkness of the music and singing, Ishii’s counterpoint in percussion, wind and acoustic guitar brought a welcome depth to Higgs travels across the spaceways, making Fountainsun Higgs’ best music-related vessel since his days with post-punk demigods Lungfish.
Openers Moon Magick (comprised of the renowned local artist Phil Pascuzzo and his companion, Laura Andrea Harris, herself a gifted photographer), were the perfect mood-setters for a heady evening, their programmed beats, Harris’s vocals and keys and Pascuzzo’s electric guitar gelling and gaining a certain grandeur as their 20-minute set progressed.
Moon Magick’s lyrics weren’t quite decipherable under all the effects, but it mattered little – the desired effect was achieved, an immersion in sound and feeling – as both acts seemed to signify, there are many things in this universe for which words themselves do not suffice.
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