The works of Bach are more than canon at this point, they’re practically background, and that’s really the problem with approaching his legacy. Higgins, though, finds a way to make these more than wedding waltz pastiches. He’s got the chops, that much is apparent immediately from the flurry of strings that opens “Aria.” Higgins, along with engineer Ben Greenberg, use the room as an instrument on Bachanalia, with mic placement being an integral part of the process and letting the pieces lap over themselves like waves in a pool. The recordings were done in two vast church spaces, Future-Past studios in Hudson, NY and St. Cecilia’s Church in Brooklyn and those live rooms feed into the record as much as Higgins’ playing. The mics pick up every spinet, every open peak of the room and feed it back onto itself, much as was surely intended when the pieces were performed originally. But to further augment the process, the pair of studio heads have reprocessed audio in several of the compositions, playing with that natural reverb and adding an extra layer of dense sound to the crystalline compositions. Its not surprising that someone associated with Zs is behind an album that’s both technically astounding and musically adventurous, but with this, Higgins has ripped the wallpaper to shreds around him and let these songs breathe again.
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