The balmy nostalgia of Buenos Aires is the setting for Paul Higgs’ latest, solo debut Astucia. A post-digital album skirted upon a dazed and confused soundscape, abruptly belching the sounds of Whatsapp voice notes, Pikachu’s pika-pika, and tape-recorded video game samples of “The Legend of Zelda.”
The city’s cultural avant-garde influence has set upon legendary rock en Español icons
for decades and has now splattered its grace onto Paul Higgs. Unstuck from time, Higgs has rooted his love for music under the craftsmanship of Luis Alberto Spinetta, “El principe” Pena, and most recently Judee Sill. But he grew up parallel to the revolution of gaming devices.
This solo debut emulates a generation’s unresolved loathing for ADHD; an insight that conceals the sound of a generational norm. “Astucia is a piece that could equally fit an art gallery as conspicuous as MoMA or inside a trash can,” he tells Remezcla.
Songs such as “Suerte felina desenfado,” “Díastema,” and “Neruda y Coraje” defy the listener into finding the underlying truth of what Higgs defines as soul felino (feline-soul). A cat-like approach onto the musical canvas that tinkers with syncopated guitar-strumming and percussive phantom synthesizers to deliver rhythm.
The end result is design music. An “inter-dimensional patrimony” that meshes vocal auto-tune with Charly García-like wailing. Astucia is a 10-track album of short-lasting songs with lyrics brawling the feelings of millennial upbringing and the despise for ready-made trap bases.
Ironically, emulating occasional auto-tuned vocals, funky r&b riff splits, and chord progressions, Astucia comes off as a new phase for rock-n-roll. Even if barely surfacing the genre with rebellious Zappa-like spikes, both voice and guitar flirt with ‘70s Latinx and non-Latinx hard rock.
“The album was meant to be a dialogue between pop and avant-garde, but ended up being a mere question,” said Higgs. A question that is soon to be answered in following material temporarily named “Aerobismo.” Higgs is currently interested in artificial intelligence and its inquiries in emotion.