Enlightenment is the brainchild of Darren Higgitt. It’s aim is to produce instrumental music based around varying styles of guitar playing which is both appealing to the listener and challenging for the player. As a project it will be ever evolving and may span many genres.
‘I’ve always been a fan of instrumental guitar music and have been amazed by the likes of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. At the same time I grew up listening to Mike Oldfield who is a guitar player but also an instrumentalist who creates and records entire albums playing every instrument himself. Having played in a few gigging bands with vocalists, I often felt frustrated and restricted by the confines of a band situation (where a certain style of music is the soul aim). Enlightenment is so called because it gives me the chance to fully express my own musical tastes and styles, and push myself to the limits of my abilities. I see Symbolic Gestures as the first step in this journey.’
REVIEW OF SYMBOLIC GESTURES - www.overplay.com
There aren’t many musicians nowadays who could say with a straight face that they’re inspired by Mike Oldfield. But when Kent multi-instrumentalist Darren Higgitt cites the posh bell-tinkler among his heroes, you can see the connection. But in a good way. The eleven vocal–free tracks on this album are as bold and bonkers as anything that was ever dreamt up in an Afghan-coated haze around the mid-‘70s. All aboard.
As well as a nod to the more considered moods of Mr Oldfield (best exemplified in the solemn 12-string atmospherics of “Goodbye”) there’s plenty of full-on metal lunacy. “The Bombardier”, “Hybrid” and “Raging Heat” are all sleek, punishing rockers that proudly don leather trousers and bang heads towards the likes of Maiden and Judas Priest.
By contrast, the barren soundscape of “Welcome” and gothic complexion of “Reaper” come from the stranger aisles of the rock supermarket. Both are awash with the epic tragedy of Mars Volta or Muse. However, these two tracks pale into normalcy against the sheer apocalyptic schizophrenia of “Dark Dreams”. Swathes of effects drown out a sampled heartbeat, before we launch headlong into a frenetic guitar workout of humungous proportions. In the space of just a few minutes, we are taken through many moods, all of them dark.
It’s not all legs apart and intense guitar faces, though. “Ambient” does a fine line in shimmering Mercury Rev-style folk, “Look In The Mirror” is an invigorating high-speed jazz happening and “Missing You” works up a sweat with wedges of synth-funk and Prince-like twiddling. And it’s the variety that’s the best thing about this album. Without uttering a single word, Enlightenment has a lot to say, in many different voices.