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William Parker: Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics

Dan McClenaghan By

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William Parker, who plays multiple instruments, is best known for his work as a jazz bassist, leaning to the avant-garde side of the spectrum, with albums including Stan's Hat Flapping in the Wind (Century, 2016) and the marvelous 2016 offering Meditation/Resurrection (AUM Fidelity). Always an adventurous soul—he began early in his career playing with pianist Cecil Taylor—Parker puts his bass down and flies further out with Lake of Light: Compositions for Aquasonics.

"Aquasonics" are sounds created by the acoustic percussion instrument called the waterphone, a resonator bowl with a protruding cylindrical neck. Water from the resonator bowl rises into this neck. Attached to the outer edge of this resonator bowl a circumference of tone rods are attached, to be struck or bowed to create the instrument's sound. The vibrations travel through water, and these tones that move through liquid density to atmospheric density are hauntingly ethereal.

Parker leads the session. Three more waterphone players join him, Jeff Schlanger, Ann Humanfeld and Leonid Galiganov. The quartet creates an odd, viscous resonance, squeals and moans, the occasional "hammer strike on a piece of sheet metal" thunderclaps, wind-in-the-eaves interludes, leaves above those eaves scraping the rooftop and rustling in gentle whispers.

The sound here is more about tone than anything normally, and conservatively, considered "music." It brings to mind—with water as a theme of sorts—the 1970 album Songs of Humpback Whales, with its chirps and low moans swelling up out of the flexible, organic, leviathan vocal chords, immersed in a similar blurry sustain given off by the sharper, more metallic tones of the waterphones. Perhaps a collaboration is in order.

Track Listing: Shifting Resonance; Purple Heartbeat; Helium Butterfly; Raindrops; Flexible Showers of Sound; Lake of Light; Action.

Personnel: William Parker: AquaSonic; Jeff Schlanger: AquaSonic; Anne Humanfeld: AquaSonic; Leonid Galaganov: AquaSonic.

Title: Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Gotta Let It Out

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