William Parker is known as a bassist, composer, poet, writer, educator and philosopher, but all these words just cover one term: musician. This is important to understand one of the latest releases from the prolific Parker: the alluringly titled Lake of Light, with the subtitle Compositions for AquaSonics. A musician in Parker's sense is not just someone who plays an instrument, but it is a way of being in touch with life itself: the tone world. This tone world takes many different shapes and thus music can show itself in the bass, but also in dance, poetry and in all kinds of sound emanating from nature.
To Parker, who recognizes the mystery and beauty of sound, the strange instrument of the AquaSonic is just another way of being in touch with the tone world. It is also a clear way of spelling out that the aim of his music is not to repeat the fixed patterns of a known genre, but to show the depth and beauty of this thing we call earth. Lake of Light is a metaphor and like any truly poetic metaphor it also creates a new meaning. In this case, a new place, a lake made of light. Just like words can create images, sounds can be suggestive as well. The music on the album conjures a place that is hard to describe or imagine.
The AquaSonic is a percussive instrument, a development of the waterphone invented by Richard Waters. The connection between nature and instrument is built into the construction as water flows inside the instrument. Just like nature can't be controlled, the sounds played on the AquaSonic escape the controlled sound patterns of other instruments. The titles of the two tracks, "Shifting Resonance" and "Flexible Showers of Sound," describe the aesthetic of the instrument. The sounds almost become alive and rather than being played conventionally, they exist on their own terms.
Four people play on this record: Parker, Jeff Schlanger, Anne Humanfeld and Leonid Galaganov. While Parker has composed all the music, don't try to spot him as a soloist, this music is not about individual expression. Instead, Lake of Light is another incarnation of the tone world and as strange as these resonating metallic whispers of water are, they get right into the heart of Parker's philosophy that is also practical and playful. As Parker says himself in the notes that accompany the physical version of the album: "Fill the AquaSonic with a little water pick up the bow / hold / turn / shake / spin / tap/ use mallets or sticks if you have them / let everything ring be creative have fun!"
Shifting Resonance; Purple Heartbeat; Helium Butterfly; Raindrops; Flexible Showers of Sound; Lake of Light;
William Parker: AquaSonic; Jeff Schlanger: AquaSonic; Anne Humanfeld: AquaSonic; Leonid Galaganov:
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