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Daniel Higgs - Magic Alphabet (2003)

Daniel Higgs is the singer for the band Lungfish and is an absolute modern day shaman. (And solo artist, whose Ancestral Songs album was a recent AQ Record Of The Week.) His presence in person and on stage is absolutely mesmerizing. In another time he would have ruled the world, or been burned at the stake, or had his own cult. But instead, he has carved out a wholly unique musical niche. In Lungfish, his stream of consciousness vocals, add a distinctly spiritual quality to Lungfish's droning repetitive caveman krautrock jams. On this here solo record, Higgs weaves a buzzing melodic otherworld, all from the sounds of a single Jews Harp. Those of you not familiar with the instrument, it's a small loop of steel with a thin strip of metal in the middle. The player plucks the strip of steel making it vibrate, and uses the shape of their mouth and position of their lips to change the tone and timbre. Same sort of method for the the 'talk box'. The results here are divine, droning, alien buzzing rhythms, slowly shifting and stuttering, with strange overtones drifting and colliding, before slipping into vibrating harmony. Imagine a sitar run through a metal digeridoo, held up against your mouth so you could sort of 'vocalise' the notes. Weird and so wonderful. (aquariusrecords)

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