Rhythm As Subject and Object
Hamid Drake and William Parker have integrated their talents on a new AumFidelity release entitled PIERCING THE VEIL. This recording only approaches the expanse of how these two musicians can work with each other. In fact, what they do is not work at all; the music the listener hears rises from a total commitment to their kindred spirits.
Both men are rhythm sections unto themselves. When combined, the impact redoubles and is all consuming. Given that rhythm is a source of grounding for the human being, this recording plays into a visceral experience. Where Drake is "pure heart beat"( as Joe McPhee has described him), Parker provides the circulation and the two together build the body. Out of that body is expressed 44 minutes and 1 second of variations of postures, movements, emotions and spiritual exaltation.
The opening piece lays the surface out for what is to follow. BLACK CHERRY is a straight out direct pizz/drum kit statement . Drake's skill on the drums often exudes a heaviness and steadiness which indicates serious drive and intention. Yet, there are times when Drake's strokes and rapid finger tapping are so delicate & strong that the sounds are inseparable from what Parker is doing on his own percussion instruments, i.e. slit drum, dumbek, or bombard. This is true in Drake's tabla/bell playing in HEAVENLY WALK and CHAUNG TZU'S DREAM and frame drum playing in JAPERU and BODIES DIE/SPIRITS LIVE. The two musicians become one in resource, sound, and direction.
Lights break within the sound through Parker's solos on the flutes; once, on the shakuhachi in JAPERU and twice, on the balaphone in NUR EL ANWAR and BODIES DIE/SPIRITS LIVE . And remarkably, when he bows on his bass in the title cut, Parker creates the same kind of ringing texture as he had on the flutes. Such artfulness is inherent in Parker's abilities. Parker's pizzicatos and bowing technique weave within Drake's drumming on the snare & cymbals; the separations of pitches and strokes are marked, yet, they create a lively tapestry, tightly patterned and distinctly bound (this is particular to CHATIMA and LOOM SONG).
What veil is being pierced in this music? The veil that might close us off from paying attention to many different cultures. Here Drake and Parker have demonstrated the commonality throughout global culture through the pulse and vibrations that emanate from their very beings. No metaphor can shade, no superlatives can outweigh the idea that is their belief in the unity of humanity, the unifying element stemming from and becoming the penetrating power of music.