Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CASSETTE REVIEW: Daniel Higgs / Michael Zerang Duo (Lake Paradise Records)

                Daniel Higgs and Michael Zerang have an individual and combined sound that crosses three genres flawlessly, thus creating an unique sound all its own while also maintaining these fundamentals.

                At first- and at other points on this cassette- there is this guitar maestro quality to the sound.   It is a virtuoso, if you will, as someone who is trained in the classical guitar styling.  There is a decent amount of percussion mixed in as well and I used the term concerto to describe it and I feel that third of the picture being painted here is pretty accurate.    On some levels, it reminds me of “When the Saints Go Marching In” only perhaps without all of the marching.

                The second element you might hear come out is something less patriotic in the sense that it is from another country.  I believe there to be some sitar in here, which gives off that Indian vibe and even at one point gets some vocal sounds.  The pace can remain steady and become almost head-bobbing with the steel drums providing a certain rhythm, but this is what I like to think of as the “other continent” portion of the cassette.

                With these two already at the front you have to wonder what else might happen and thus we enter the world of the banjo.   It’s somewhere between country and folk, but it should be noted that the vibe tends to be closer to that of John Denver than say Kermit the Frog in the swamp.    There is a certain twang to it and keeping with the instrumental vibe of the cassette it doesn’t sound even remotely like any of the radio bands trying to live out the folk revival.

                What I like most about this cassette is that it is truly an exploration of strings.   The journey isn’t overdone in the sense that they feel the need to play every string ever made (I’m pretty sure there is no harp, violin or even electric guitar), as much as maybe different variations of the same one.   The demonstration is also executed in such a manner that you can’t really find fault in it no matter what their intent might be. 

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