Skinny Wolves & Hunters Moon bring Daniel Higgs to Dublin in May. Naturally enough, he’s playing in an opticians basement.
Well of course he is.
DANIEL HIGGS 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.
Higgs has wedded his music and his visual art into a singular being, meant to be encountered as a conjuring force similar to that of the tarot experience. The yggdrasil is the great tree of Norse myth that connects all worlds of cosmology. Passing into Christian folklore, the tree is said to connect heaven and earth. In his relentless pursuit of the indivisible, Higgs travels up and down this spine and hatches a new transubstantiation of sound and image into life-form.
WOVEN SKULL Woven skull is the vessel with which the sound of larks, lakes and the high breeze off tree tops travels from its source to the comfortable confines of rigid amplification, battered drum skins and rusty chimes into repetitive dark melodies.
Since 2008 the core trio that makes up Woven Skull have been gathering together in the remote area in the north west of Ireland known as Leitrim. Known for its tales of ghosts, ‘tree folk’, under water creatures and the constant battle calls of the ancient Tuatha De Danann that can be heard on Letirims Iron Mountain. These are the surroundings and forces that influence the sound that Woven Skull create: A contrast of minimal drones, repetition and psychedelic distorted riffs all layered in constant unconscious rhythms.
As well as the 3 core members, Woven Skull often take other people with them when playing live or during recordings. Other ‘players’ have included members of United Bible Studies, Gnod, Core of the Coal Man, Raising Holy Sparks and more. When playing live the group incorporates visuals and creates an intimate setting with candles and dim lighting. They have a number of self-released CDs as well as a tape release (Moods of the Hill People) on Fort Evil Fruit (Dublin) and a release coming out on Golden Lab Records (Manchester).