Patrick Higgins | Tocsin
(Telegraph Harp Records)
For ambitious artists the creative journey never truly ends, but with Tocsin it's tempting to say that Hudson's Patrick Higgins has fully arrived as a contemporary composer. Although the guitarist and founder of the experimental band Zs doesn't play on the album, across the three modern classical chamber works performed on the epic release (digital, CD, and luxurious vinyl package) by pianist Vicky Chow, the Wet Ink Ensemble, and the Mivos Quartet, his restless spirit and punk-and-noise background are palpable, nonetheless. Higgins's audaciousness is well reflected in the album's opener, a string arrangement of Bach's unfinished "Contrapunctus XIV" boldly woven into the four-part "SQ3." Continuing the fixation he began with Bachanalia, a 2016 album of solo guitar interpretations of the German master's music, Higgins focuses on the famously abrupt ending of the original work, spinning that moment into the dramatic device that informs each of the suite's skittering, stop-start movements. Intense.