Arthur Jarvinen has been a new music trooper in L.A. for years, as founding percussionist with the California EAR Unit, and his broad sense of music and humor is neatly captured on this album of his compositions, featuring members of the Unit and other players.
As Kyle Gann says in the liner notes, Jarvinen can be seen as a West Coast member of the Totalist movement, involving youngish composers with a taste for rock, jazz, world music and the classical. Here, Jarvinen shows a keen interest in rhythmic traffic of the grunge-minimalist type, and with exotic instruments--chromatic harmonica on “Clean Your Gun” and Brazilian berimbau in extended variations (maybe too extended) on “The Paces of Yu.” The title track and “Count Your Change"--titillating miniatures--as well as “Murphy-Nights” rely on electric and acoustic instruments, and recall the swampy accidental counterpoint of Captain Beefheart, replete with free jazz outbursts by L.A. woodwind whirlwind Vinnie Golia.
Closing with the mad Scarlatti scramble of “The Queen of Spain,” Jarvinen’s Totalist grab bag leaves us enticed and pleasantly confused.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four (excellent).