As with all of Christoff’s projects, Wire Tones is conceptually driven by a dedication to social justice. In this case, Parker and Christoff are inspired by the ongoing struggles in Canada against the Conservative government’s expansion of the prison system. Their duets were recorded last fall in Kingston, Ontario, a small city located on the confluence of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Kingston is an appropriate location to meditate on the complexities of the prison industrial complex, as, in addition to being Canada’s first capital city, it has the largest concentration of federal correctional facilities in Canada, and is home to major military installations.
“Shifting Skies” opens with cautious ruminations on the piano, Christoff’s bright notes in sharp contrast to the deep drone of the bowed bass. A somber mood prevails, but not without an intimation of aggression just under the surface. Each player is attentive to the sustained resonance of their instrument, and the interplay between them exceeds that of a dialogue and approaches a sublime melancholy. (Joseph Sannicandro)