Tuesday 19 June 2018, 7.30pm
Daniel Arcus Incus Ululat Higgs is a musician and artist from Baltimore, Maryland on whose behalf superlatives are destined to fail. It’s not that his artistic output – spanning three decades, numerous albums, books of poetry and collections of drawings – simply eludes classification, it defies it. Often we hear that a true work of art is meant to speak for itself, and with the work of Daniel Higgs the maxim rings truer than ever. His art is of the cosmos, we on Earth merely lucky that it happens to be confined to our atmosphere, in our lifetime.
Higgs is known primarily for his work as the sole lyricist and frontman of the band Lungfish, a four-piece dedicated to charting, in this listener’s estimation, nothing short of the evolution of all species, known and unknown. That the band has undertaken this pursuit in the guise of a humble rock outfit, in the absence of any public relations fanfare, metanarrative, or manifesto has been enough to endear them to tens of thousands. They are enshrined as one of America’s last true folk bands, and Higgs anointed as a patron saint to artistic purity.
In recent years, Higgs has released a number of solo outings that can only be described as the ultimate in isolation, worlds away from the hypnotic, communal rock of his band. On Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot, Higgs weaves meditative, casually ruptured drones using acoustic and electric guitar, upright pianos, banjo and jew’s harp, recorded entirely at home on cassette recorder. He pairs the music with a series of paintings that call to mind religious iconography passed through the disfiguring surrealism of Miro.
Seymour Wright lives in London. His practice is about the creative, situated friction of learning, ideas, people and the saxophone – music, history and technique – actual and potential. This is an on-going, rigorous and exhaustive exploration of imaginations, instrument, spaces and strucutures. The energy of this learning is applied to various collaborations and contexts to access/share what he has called the ‘awkward wealth of investigation’.
His solo work is documented on three widely acclaimed self-released collections Seymour Wright of Derby (2008), Seymour Writes Back (2015) and Is This Right? (2017).
His current collaborations include: abaria with Ute Kanngiesser; a duet with Crystabel Riley; [Ahmed] with Antonin Gerbal, Joel Grip and Pat Thomas; GUO with Daniel Blumberg; The Experimental Library with Evie Ward; XT with Paul Abbott; lll人 with Daichi Yoshikawa and Paul Abbott, a 'new jazz' trio with John Chantler and Steve Noble; an on-going inter-textual quartet with Paul Abbott, Cara Tolmie and Will Holder; a trans-atlantic duet with Anne Guthrie, and, with Jean-luc Guionnet a project addressing an imaginary lacunae in Aby Warburg's Atlas Mnemosyne. Bits of his writing has been published in C//A, Sound American and The Wire.
“For over 10 years, I have only played unscripted/improvised music. I have experimented with the sound of the cello, limiting myself to the alive material at hand: vast and complicated layers within the instrument and myself; and to let this music evolve continuously in relationship with others. It relates to the process of uncovering an endless multiplicity of coexisting sense perspectives. And it deals with the energy that this gives rise to. For me, it is the most exciting place to play music from.”
During late naughties Crystabel Riley toured Japan and Europe playing drums and electronics with industrial noise trio Maria and the Mirrors. She is also a pivotal member of ongoing improvisation project Debbie Leggo; collaboration with Scottish poet Gerry Mitchel and musicians such as Tom Jackson. She has played drums for Michael Rother and has performed with Daniel Thomson, Sue Lynch, Saadet Turkoz and John Edwards.