Yale masters grad, U-Iowa PhD and current UC San Diego music professor Harkins certainly has the pedigree to play trumpet as boldly as he does on this improvised music project. He plays all kinds of trumpet; double reed, piccolo, double bell, modular, muted and slide as well a B-flat. Multi-woodwind collaborator Vinny Golia joins him on these ten sonic explorations, as does arco and pizzicato bassist Bertram Turetzky. They play an avant music that is hardly guarded, frequently skittering and chattering. It's a communion of conversation that ebbs and flows, perhaps pausing occasionally for effect, but always with something to say that is spiritual and natural. As Harkins and Golia switch up on instruments for each cut, it's hard to say there's a distinction, they are seamless and weave in and out of dynamic phases, lead roles, and abject tunefulness. Harkins is writing a book on what he calls his "complex rhythm" theory. "For Now..." defines this concept, with swirling lines, probing bass clarinet, and buzzing bass. "Air" has mysterious mezzo piano inflections with popping valves, soaring bowed bass, and Harkins' wordless, shaman-like vocals. The singing is more pronounced during "Chant," same type of bass clarinet and bass. Waves of sound delineate "Commencement," valve sounds and much overblowing with long bass tones define "It Almost Was," anxious flute is the center of "Dyads," and a sad trumpet combined with Golia's flute contrast on "Someone I've Met Before." "Could the Future Be Marco?" sounds like Harkins regular and muted trumpet is overdubbed, while "Top Forty" has an A-B-A approach...kinda. These three are at the forefront of the West coast avant vanguard. This is specifically for new music mavens, but you will be rewarded with a unique listening experience. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos