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Guitarist Patrick Higgins is perhaps best known for his work in Zs, though, on his own, he is an accomplished modern classical composer with several opuses to his name. Together with Mivos Quartet, Higgins breathes life into his seventh work and uses the raw material to create an eighth.
To one who is a layperson in the finer details of modern compositional music, String Quartet No.2 sounds a lot like a Bernard Herrman soundtrack with traces of Krzysztof Penderecki and Ioannis Xenakis. The strings creep stealthily along, landing in plains of sustained atonality or building to bombastic cacophony. Stark melodies segue into sinister passages, tones hold and decompress or collapse under pressure. The result is unnerving, terrifying, yet somehow beautiful, like the manifestation of a conjured deity.
On Glacia, Higgins remixes the Mivos Quartet recording, altering the speed, adding effects and moving parts around to create an entirely new arrangement inspired by the constant flow of ice shelves. Here, String Quartet No.2 becomes gargantuan, morphing into a monstrous edifice of frozen sound reminiscent of György Ligeti‘s Atmosphères from Stanly Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odessy.
It’s good to get out of the box once in a while and explore other musical worlds that open up realms never before imagined. Let Patrick Higgins take you on that trip. It’s well worth the ride.
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