Migration was produced, composed, arranged, performed, and programmed by Hamilton Sterling and Jimmy Haslip.
Hamilton Sterling is a Sound Designer, Composer, Editor, and Musician who has worked on such films as The Dark Knight, War of the Worlds, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
Jimmy Haslip is a Grammy-winning Producer, Composer, Musician, and a founding member of the jazz fusion group, Yellowjackets. He also plays with the Allan Holdsworth/Alan Pasqua group, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, Jing Chi, and Renegade Creation.
Dual disc DVD Dolby Digital 5.1, DVD high-resolution PCM Stereo, DVD-Audio 5.1.
Well, I have to tell you that you only think you know Jimmy Haslip, bassist for the Yellowjackets. In his partnership with Hamilton Sterling, the daunting musician reveals a side no one quite suspected, co-writing and co-playing a highly engaging, wildly pastiched, very three-dimensional opus cohering multiple modes and styles into one segmented narrative that's vanguard progressive in fact a continuo on what the electronic pioneers (Subotnick et al) and musique concrete and other wizards (Xenakis, Crumb, etc.) were sallying towards in their own times. The Yellowjackets were an aspect of the jazz world which was fusing a good deal of emerging modernity into trad/trad-fusion baselines. How good were they? Well, I caught 'em at a JVC Jazz Fest opening for Miles Davis, and they were very very good. But they, Steps Ahead, Cassiopeia, Mezzoforte, Passport, and a small double handful of fusion bands were creating infectious hybrids in modes true artists can't help but wring from heightened sensibilities. Thus, per se, Migration shouldn't be as big a tectonic shift as it is. However, consider that even more exploratory sounds came forward and advanced under Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Loren Nerell, and others. Next came Vidna Obmana, Coma Virus, and the entire electronica scene perhaps most intriguingly in the glitch mode, which is employed here as well. Toss in Aphex Twin, Orb, and assorted kindred, and you have a pretty rounded window. Migration weaves all that together and even harks back to Weather Report, updated (City of Light and Spiral, Dreams of Home). Sterling's a musician but also a sound designer, a talent that's becoming increasingly important in several worlds, the proof of his skill lying in an omnipresent in-demand status because of his work in The Dark Knight, War of the Worlds, and Master and Commander. Then interpolate the fact that Haslip has recently been a member of Alan Holdsworth's band AH being one of the most respected guitarists in the world, possessor of an inimitably singular vocabulary and the possibilities inherent in the duo begin to gush forth. Migration is quintessentially immersive and presented via audiophile matrixing in dual DVD form, one side a choice between 5.1 surround sound and PCM high-rez two-channel stereo, the other side strictly way high end 5.1 DVD-Audio surround sound (think Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs and then some), also extremely high resolution. All three formats are prime headphone material. There are no visuals, Sterling's using DVD format only to encode Migration at the highest possible level. Thus, the completely sonic presentation of the disc is a combination of the painterly, the explosive, and the sublime, oft understated, enticing the imagination to interconnect more broadly. An epigram (Man could not stay there forever. He was bound to spread to new regions, partly because of his innate migratory tendency and partly because of Nature's stern urgency, Huntington Ellsworth) foreshadows the transplanetary nature of the music, from Earth to the stars, and that's exactly what the listener undergoes, with many strange dimensional shifts along the way. The most salient elements of the disc are neoclassical and experimental, sculptures and pigments via notes and silences. More than a few passages reflect Eno and Jon Hassell's quirky ambientalisms and jungle strangeness. You'll also hear shades of John Serrie, Beaver & Krause, Wendy Carlos, and more than one influence from the hallowed electronische Nonesuch days of the 60s & 70s. All those marvels to the side, myself having decades ago tasted the delights of a well set-up quadrophonic environment, I suggest the reader indulge his or hedonisms and play this disc in the fashion meant. Haslip and Sterling are doing for pure sonics what Cameron has done for visuals via Avatar. Evolution, ladies and gents. --By Mark Tucker, Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange, David N. Pyles, Editor
Migration is the collaboration between Sound Designer, Composer, Editor, and Musician/Programmer Hamilton Sterling and Yellowjackets bass player, Producer, and Composer Jimmy Haslip. Part jazz, part avant-garde, and part World Fusion, Migration is more an aural experience than something you just throw on for background noise. Created as a soundtrack to take the listener on a journey beginning in Senegal and ending up on another planet, Migration uses enchanting soundscapes, live nature recordings, bass, and percussion, all to great effect. The opening 15+ minute track, Senegal Suite, fuses chilling avant-garde noises with melodic jazz as well as sweeping World Music soundscapes, while the title track is an intoxicating brew of natural water sounds and buzzing electronics, giving the listener a feeling of being isolated out at sea, floating on a lonely raft with no rescue in sight. City of Light builds and builds from low cascading drones to huge swells of Asian accented instrumentation, in what is easily one of the more bombastic pieces on the CD. After the brief, Tangerine Dream-ish Sadness, Away, comes the ominous City of Water, and just as the duo succeeded on Migration of making you feel like you were stranded in water, this one is a suffocating amalgam of space images, with Haslip's muscular, effects laden bass rumbles squeezing through a haze of unearthly noises and soundscapes, giving the effect of being drifting hopelessly in space. The finale, Spiral, Dreams of Home, brings everything together in a positive tone, a caustic, jazz-fusion number, reminding the listener that all is not lost, as the busy instrumentation and bright colors end the album on a lighter note.
We were given to review both the CD version and the double sided DVD, which contains the album in 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2 channel PCM 24 bit 48kHZ, both DVD Audio & Video. Depending on the type of equipment you have will depend on which is the best choice for you, but all the available formats sound absolutely breathtaking. Migration certainly isn't going to be for everyone, but if you are a prog or jazz fan who likes things on the avant-garde side, you might find this to be a pleasing journey into adventurous worlds, courtesy of Sterling and Haslip. --By Pete Pardo, Sea of Tranquility