Patrick Higgins (musician)

Patrick Higgins is an American avant-garde composer, guitarist, and producer from New York City, known for his work in experimental and contemporary classical music. Higgins plays guitar and composes in Zs, described by The New York Times as "one of the strongest avant-garde bands in New York."[1] Heralded as a "formidable concert music composer"[2] and "one of the most gifted guitarists working today",[3] Higgins has received attention for bridging traditions including baroque chamber music, contemporary noise, and 20th century minimalism.[4]

Patrick Higgins
OriginNew York, New York
Genresexperimental, classical, noise, improvisation
Occupation(s)composer, guitarist, producer
Years active2004–present
LabelsOther People, Northern Spy, NNA Tapes, Telegraph Harp, Unfun Records
WebsiteOfficial Site

Early life and career edit

Higgins was born in 1984 in Manhattan and attended high school at the Urban School of San Francisco.[5] He returned to New York City in 2002 to attend Columbia University, earning a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A. in Comparative Literature.

In 2004, Higgins and Alexander Perrelli formed the duo project Animal. They released their eponymous debut on Unfun Records in 2006,[6] with a second release, the Archaeopteryx split Horror Orr, following a year later.[7] In 2007, Higgins recorded an album of video game-inspired music titled Monkey Mountain (ELE Records, 2012).

Music edit

In 2012, Higgins joined a new trio configuration of long-running New York ensemble Zs,[8] touring with the group across 20 countries. The first Zs record to feature Higgins was Grain, released on Northern Spy in 2014.[9] Higgins co-composed, produced, and played guitar for Zs' 2015 album Xe, the band's most critically acclaimed record to date. Xe was praised by publications including The Wall Street Journal,[10] Pitchfork,[11] and Rolling Stone, which included the album in its Best Avant-Garde Records of 2015.[12] The album and artwork for Xe were purchased by the SF MOMA and are part of the museum's permanent collection.[13]

As a composer, Higgins often uses his own work as raw material for further experimentation. In 2013, Ex Cathedra Records released a double LP of Higgins' String Quartet No.2, featuring Mivos Quartet, along with Glacia, an electronic re-composition of the quartet performance.[14] Higgins furthered the concepts informing Glacia on 2015's Social Death Mixtape (NNA), this time presenting remixes of his own compositions without the untreated source materials (which included unreleased works for harpsichord, string ensemble, and guitar). Tiny Mix Tapes gave the album's "forays into avant-noise-classical-electronics" 4 out of 5 stars.[15]

Higgins composed the score for the feature film As You Are (dir. by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte), which was awarded the prestigious Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.[16] He premiered Hyperborea, a work for string orchestra and live electronics, at the 2017 Le Guess Who? Festival in Holland. The piece was performed by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and included a new arrangement of Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo's "Tenebrae Responsories" for strings.

One of Higgins' best-known solo works is Bachanalia (Telegraph Harp, 2015) a record of electronically processed classical guitar arrangements of Johann Sebastian Bach. Heralded as a "flawlessly-performed"[17] "masterpiece",[18] Bachanalia solidified Higgins' reputation as among the most innovative guitarists of his era.[19][20] September 2017 saw the release of a collaborative recording called "EVRLY MVSIC", released on NNA Tapes. The record featured semi-improvised acoustic duets of Higgins on guitar and violinist Josh Modney of the International Contemporary Ensemble.

Wet Ink Ensemble performing Higgins' work "Emptyset [0,0]" from TOCSIN, at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn NY, November 2016

Higgins played guitar and assisted in arrangement and production on No-Wave auteur Arto Lindsay's Cuidado Madame, recorded in Brooklyn at Strange Weather Studios and released on Northern Spy in 2017.[21] Higgins also played guitar for Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori during her Pioneer Works residency. In 2018, Hatori released the resulting record, Sequence, under the moniker Miss Information.[22]

Higgins' solo LP Dossier was released on Nicolas Jaar's label, Other People, in 2018. Exclaim! magazine issued the work a 9/10, citing its "incredibly unique aesthetic",[23] and Inverted Audio called Dossier "one of Higgins’ most accomplished works to date".[24] Higgins' subsequent tour across Europe, Japan, and North America included a multimedia rendition of the work at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, featuring choreography by Monica Mirabile of Fluct and sculpture by light-based visual artist Matthew Schreiber.[25]

In 2020, Higgins released TOCSIN, an album Pitchfork called "Higgins' most ambitious and wide-reaching collection of original compositions".[4] The record followed a multimedia concert presented at Pioneer Works in 2016. Titled TOCSIN: Three New Works by Patrick Higgins, the two-night event featured an immersive art installation developed by Higgins in collaboration with visual artist Tauba Auerbach, architect Alexander Arroyo, and set designer/projectionist Ken Farmer; the premieres of Higgins' compositions were performed by Mivos Quartet, Wet Ink Ensemble, and a piano trio featuring Vicky Chow with cellists Mariel Roberts and Brian Snow.[26] The resulting album, released on Telegraph Harp, features recordings of these pieces and personnel.

Producer edit

In the fall of 2013, Higgins founded Future-Past Studios in upstate New York. The studio is home to a renowned collection of analog recording equipment and housed in an historic Lutheran church from the 19th century.[27] He has worked as a record producer, engineer, and studio owner, and since the studio's opening has recorded over 60 records, including work with Dither Quartet and John Zorn, Vicky Chow of Bang on a Can, The Last Shadow Puppets (Arctic Monkeys), The National, War On Drugs, Zs, Gang Gang Dance, Amanda Palmer, Jherek Bischoff, Josephine Foster, Mivos Quartet, TAK ensemble, Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire, and numerous film scores.

Discography edit

Solo / Primary Artist edit

Year Title Label Additional personnel
2020 TOCSIN Telegraph Harp Wet Ink Ensemble, Vicky Chow, Mivos Quartet
2018 DOSSIER Other People
2017 EVRLY MVSIC NNA Patrick Higgins & Josh Modney
2015 Bachanalia Telegraph Harp
2015 Social Death Mixtape NNA Mivos Quartet and more; remixes of original compositions
2013 String Quartet No.2 + Glacia Ex Cathedra, Words+Dreams Mivos Quartet
2012 STEREO Words+Dreams
2012 Monkey Mountain ELE, Unfun Records

As band / ensemble member edit

Year Artist Title Label Personnel
2018 Zs Noth[28] Social Noise Sam Hillmer, Higgins, Greg Fox, Michael Beharie
2018 Miss Information Sequence[22] Pioneer Works Press Miho Hatori (ft. Higgins, Fox, Heems)
2017 Arto Lindsay Cuidado Madame[21] Northern Spy
2015 Zs Xe[29] Northern Spy Sam Hillmer, Patrick Higgins, Greg Fox
2013 Zs Grain[30] Northern Spy Sam Hillmer, Patrick Higgins, Greg Fox
2007 Animal / Archeaopteryx (split EP) Horror Orr Unfun Records
2006 Animal LP Unfun Records

Film scores edit

Year Film Soundtrack Label Personnel
2019 Dreamland Lakeshore Records (2020) Composed by Patrick Higgins & Miles Joris-Peyrafitte
2016 As You Are Votiv (2017) Composed by Patrick Higgins & Miles Joris-Peyrafitte
2014 Gabriel[31] Composed by Patrick Higgins

References edit

  1. ^ "The Listings". The New York Times. 2006-11-24. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  2. ^ "Avant Rock Trio Brings Its Latest Incarnation to Jamaica Plains". The Boston Globe.
  3. ^ "FESTIVAL REPORT: Skaņu Mežs". The Quietus.
  4. ^ a b Williger, Jonathan (19 October 2020). "Patrick Higgins: TOCSIN". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  5. ^ "The Urban Community Magazine: 07/08 Annual Report" (PDF). The Urban School of San Francisco. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Patrick Higgins". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Entertainment Center: Alumni Recordings and Films, July 2007-2008". Columbia College Today. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  8. ^ "A Band Sprawls Its Way Across Genres on a Rigorous Wavelength All Its Own". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Zs Grain". Pitchfork.
  10. ^ "Fleetwood Mac In Pantaloons Plus 1960s Baroque Pop". The Wall Street Journal.
  11. ^ "Zs: Xe, Album Review". Pitchfork.
  12. ^ "20 Best Avant Albums of 2015". Rolling Stone.
  13. ^ "Tauba Auerbach Zs Xe Album Art". SF MOMA.
  14. ^ "Patrick Higgins and Mivos Quartet String Quartet No 2 Glacia". AllMusic.
  15. ^ "Patrick Higgins - Social Death Mixtape". Tiny Mix Tapes.
  16. ^ "Sundance: The Birth of a Nation Sweeps Top Prizes". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  17. ^ "Patrick Higgins - Bachanalia". Scene Point Blank.
  18. ^ "Patrick Higgins - Bachanalia (Telegraph Harp)". The Big Takeover.
  19. ^ "I'm Bullish on Patrick Higgins". Analog Planet.
  20. ^ "Crate-Digging: Patrick Higgins – Bachanalia". Critical Masses.
  21. ^ a b Soto, Alfred (17 April 2017). "Arto Lindsay: Cuidado Madame". Pitchfork. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  22. ^ a b Sherburne, Philip (4 October 2018). "Great Records You May Have Missed: Summer 2018". Pitchfork. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  23. ^ "Patrick Higgins, Dossier". "Exclaim! Magazine.
  24. ^ "In Perspective: Patrick Higgins talks up his new LP, 'Dossier', on Nicolas Jaar's Other People". Inverted Audio.
  25. ^ "Patrick Higgins x Monica Mirabile: Sublime Confrontation". Brightest Young Things.
  26. ^ "TOCSIN, Programs". Pioneer Works.
  27. ^ "Future-Past Studios".
  28. ^ Doran, John (4 April 2018). "Stream Consciousness: New York Experimental Band Zs Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  29. ^ Gotrich, Lars (15 January 2015). "All Songs Considered: Viking's Choice: Zs, 'Xe'". NPR. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  30. ^ Currin, Grayson (9 May 2013). "Zs: Grain". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  31. ^ Scheib, Ronnie (22 April 2014). "Tribeca Film Review: 'Gabriel'". Variety. Retrieved 24 December 2020.

External links edit