William Parker - Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
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William Parker – Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World

Here is our full review of the 10-CDs box set released by William Parker, Migration of Silence into and out of the Tone World. As William Parker acknowledges, this is the music of all the musicians who took part in the project, and who have dedicated their lives to being “music” itself.

William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World – [Volumes 1–10]
(AUM Fidelity)

First, let’s mention that the box is well designed, and it should last for many years, while keeping the included 10 CDs (see pictures hereunder) safe, as well as the two booklets (lyrics + liner notes). It also has a lot of information about the artists, sessions, ideas behinds the songs, etc., which will make your listening even more pleasant.

This music itself is a monumental “collection of vocal and instrumental suites, all recorded expressly for this set, between late 2018 and early 2020, with women’s voices at its core”.

Seven of the 10 albums have vocals. William Parker composed all of them, and he plays on most but not on all of the albums. The entire experience is very dense (10 hours of music) but not at all demanding or tiring. The 10 albums unfold differently while remarkably standing together to create its own world full of parallel worlds.

In a way, these 10 albums help us look at things with new eyes (or listen to things with new ears) and finally realize all the albums were parts of a greater whole, and only the forms were different. It all points to the good that music does for humanity, and that music itself can also embody humanity.

William Parker clearly puts art, music, and poetry at the centre of his work. It is beautiful, captivating, and timeless.

Album 1 – Blue Limelight

Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World - CD1
The Music of William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
Album 1 – Blue Limelight
Featuring Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez & Ensemble

The music is captivating. William Parker goes into his memories and somehow allows us not only to travel back in time with him but to mix his recollections with our own. Raina Sokolov-Gonzale’s voice is astonishing, magnifying the poetic beauty of all the tracks, capturing all our thoughts and dreams to make them vibrate along with the songs. The journey is bewitching.

Session date: November 9, 2018
Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez: voice; Mara Rosenbloom: piano; Peter Dennis: bass; Scot Moore: violin; Reina Murooka: violin; Tina Burova: violin; Jim Ferraiuolo: oboe: Kevin Murray, Jim Clouse: drums; Special guest Jason Kao Hwang: violin

Album 2 – Child Of Sound

Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World - CD2
The Music of William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
Album 2 – Child Of Sound
Featuring Eri Yamamoto

The second album consists of 14 tracks, piano only, and, as William Parker mentions in the booklet, “This music for solo piano is not about the piano; it is about the music.” The music and melodies are all beautifully performed by Ery Yamamoto. Strangely, every piece carries hope and sorrow within it simultaneously. The tracks seem dark but not heavy, sad but somehow open, and always elegant. A perfect example is “The Golden Light (Hymn)”.

Session date: January 3, 2019
Eri Yamamoto: piano

Album 3 – The Majesty Of Jah

Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World - CD3
The Music of William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
Album 3 – The Majesty Of Jah
Featuring Ellen Christi, Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson, William Parker

The third album feels much more cerebral as a result of the overdubs/superimpositions/editing/assembly work by Ellen Christi on some tracks, but it is also forceful and even more political. It has an overall heavier feeling; it is engaging and fascinating. For example, take “Sun Song”.

Session date: Autumn 2010; Mixed 2019.
Ellen Christi: voice & production; William Parker: bass, donso ngoni, percussion, voice on “Freedom”; Special guess Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson: trumpet

Album 4 – Cheops

Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World - CD4
The Music of William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
Album 4 – Cheops
Featuring Kyoko Kitamura & Ensemble

This album is a lot more intense—even though it is still comfortable and free. It makes us feel like we have been transported outside of ourselves and deposited in an empty place, or a soft, sidereal void. This is surely one of the strongest albums in the boxed set.

Session date: February 27, 2019.
Kyoko Kitamura: voice; Matt Moran: vibes; Ben Stapp: tuba; Kayla Milmine-Abbott: soprano sax; Rachel Housle: drums; William Parker: bass, bass duduk & fujara overtone flute on “If We Play Soft Enough”

Album 5 – Harlem Speaks

Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World - CD5
The Music of William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
Album 5 – Harlem Speaks
Featuring Fay Victor, Hamid Drake, William Parker

The trio Fay (v), Hamid (d), and William Parker (b) play Album 5 in its entirety. Its six tracks (64 minutes) are dedicated to Harlem. While listening, time just disappears, as Fay’s voice is so incredibly mesmerizing, full of possibilities and creativity, managing to be so organically intricate along with the trio. Splendid!

Session date: March 5, 2019.
Fay Victor: voice; Hamid Drake: drums, frame drum; William Parker: bass, guembri, balafon, gralla

Album 6 – Mexico

Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World - CD6
The Music of William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
Album 6 – Mexico
Featuring Jean Carla Rodea & Ensemble

William Parker names the international line-up of musicians gathered here, and it is a serious number of freedom-fighters. As explained in the liner notes, the concept of freedom-fighters is related to all musicians, artists, and anybody in pursuit of beautiful, inclusive creation in the world. The sixth album is freeform, yet it stays in line with the earlier albums, certainly thanks to Jean Carla’s beautiful voice and inspiration.

Session date: January 15, 2019.
Jean Carla Rodea: voice; Brahim Fribgane: oud; Jackson Krall: tenor drum; Ariel Bart: harmonica; Ohad Kapuya: bass; Illay Sabag: piano; Kevin Murray: drums & percussion; Rachel Housle: drums & percussion; Special guest: Jim Clouse: tenor sax; Matt Lavelle: trumpet; Matt Lambiase: trumpet

Album 7 – Afternoon Poem

Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World - CD7
The Music of William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
Album 7 – Afternoon Poem
Featuring Lisa Sokolov

William Parker says everything about the seventh album in two sentences: “‘Afternoon Poem’ is music written for solo voice. I cannot think of any vocalist who has a greater connection to the healing powers of sound than Lisa.”

Session date: June 24, 2019.
Lisa Sokolov: voice (on bonus track: Yuko Fujiyama: piano)

Album 8 – Lights in the Rain (The Italian Directors Suite)

Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World - CD8
The Music of William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
Album 8 – Lights in the Rain (The Italian Directors Suite)
Featuring Andrea Wolper & Ensemble

The Italian Directors’ Suite is dedicated to seven Italian filmmakers who touched William Parker’s life. These freedom-fighters of Mexico now support the astonishing Andrea Wolper. The music transports us to Europe and Italy, and the tracks feel spot on and suggestive.

Session date: September 16, 2019.
Andrea Wolper: voice; Illay Sabag: piano; Ariel Bart: harmonica; Jim Ferraiuolo: oboe; Rachel Housle: drums; Peter Dennis: bass; Ohad Kapuya; bass; William Parker: cornet

Album 9 – The Fastest Train

Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World - CD9
The Music of William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
Album 9 – The Fastest Train
Featuring William Parker, Coen Aalberts, Klaas Hekman

No vocals, only pure, organic music (see the played-instruments list hereunder). “The Fastest Train” is a questionable title. It makes sense only by reading the poems and statements that each track comes with. For Track 11, “The World’s Fastest Train”, the associated poem starts as:

The World's Fastest Train
does not move
It stands still like a mountain
[...]

We won’t spoil the rest of it, but that’s the idea. These notes allow us to start listening to the music with a thread if needed, but as all tracks did not have their statements printed, we are quickly on our own. We can let go in this music that strangely feels so far away in time but so deeply a part of us at once. Highly meditative!

Recorded on May 14, 2019
William Parker: keringot, hochiku, shakuhachi in D & A, stereophonic bamboo flute, Ojibway overtone bass flute, pocket trumpet, malakan flute, Chinese shakuhachi; Coen Aalberts: conch shell, winti flute from New Guinea, cricket sounds, bird sounds, bamboo brushes, whistles, drum set; Klaas Hekman: dogon flute, shakuhachi, bass Indian flute, piccolo, and C flute

Album 10 – Manzanar

Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World - CD10
The Music of William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
Album 10 – Manzanar
Featuring Universal Tonality String Quartet

No vocals (again), but a string quartet that sounds classic but always in line with William Parker’s Migration of Silence into and out of the Tone World. One track is about “a dissection of string paintings, as if fingers were brushes, and strings were paint”; another is about “the trees of Vermont”. This last album is yet another world, unfolding before us but still part of the same universe, and, in its own way, just as captivating as the others.

Session date: February 13, 2019.
Melanie Dyer: viola; Jason Kao Hwang: violin; Gwen Laster: violin; Dara Bloom: cello; William Parker: khaen, Navajo flute, fujara overtone flute on “Khaen” | On “Being Native” Jason Kao Hwang: violin; Jean Cook: violin; Nicole Federici: viola; Alexander Waterman: cello; Daniel Carter: alto saxophone

William Parker – Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World – Info

William Parker: compositions, bass & additional instruments | Featuring: an international, inter-generational array of singers & musicians, drawn from both long-standing colleagues and a new generation of devoted artists.
Released the 2021.01.29

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