His latest CD Dereck 2, self-released
last fall, is an ambient head-trip, a tonal excursion into deep,
almost spiritual territory best listened to with headphones on and
lights out. Higgins draws upon a myriad of conventional and unconventional
influences, from '80s dream pop (Chameleons) to English progressive
(early Genesis) to experimental ambient soundscapes (Eno), all to
create a style that is as otherworldly as it is strangely familiar.
A typical track melds electronic drums and synths with warm-tone
guitar, bass and Higgins' haunted, almost brassy tenor that drops
to a Peter Murphy deep-as-a-well echo on standout "You Live
A mental health rehabilitation specialist, Higgins says he can't
separate his day-job from his music. "What I learn about human
behavior and mental wellness is connected to my life view and the
way I see things in general," he said.
But just as influential is his enormous record collection. Higgins
throws out names of obscure bands not to impress but as a matter
of fact. You may not have heard of The Minny Pops or Amon Duul II
or The Names or Porcupine Tree or The Heart Throbs or Faust, but
they're part of Higgins' everyday listening experience along with
less mysterious acts like The Moody Blues, R.E.M., Wire, Joy Division
and Magazine. "Some of the best records ever made are never
heard," Higgins said. He hopes that isn't the case with Dereck
Last winter, Higgins performed his material alone with a pre-recorded
CD just to "get it out there." The results were spotty
at best. Now with a full band backing him, including John Friedman
on guitar, Bill Eustice on bass and Jeff Tegtmeir on drums, fans
will get a chance to see his music fully realized in a live setting.
Leave your headphones at home.
Go to Higgins'
website to order a copy of Dereck 2, or check out his
Published in The Omaha Reader July 13, 2005.
Copyright © 2005 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
"Some of the best records ever made
are never heard."