Artist: Jos Smolders
Title: Habitat
Catalog Number: and/20
Release Year: 2005
Format: CDR
Status: Sold Out

Track List:
01.
Straat
02. Nacht 3:30 AM
03. Zondag
04. Nacht 3:38 AM
05. Beton
06. Nacht 3:56 AM
07. Arvika
08. Coda
and/OAR is very pleased to present a new work by Dutch sound artist Jos
Smolders, who is also known as one of the founding members of THU20
(along with Roel Meelkop & Peter Duimelinks). This is Smolders'  first
release in a long time to not use sounds exclusive to electronic sources.
Sound sources include field recordings from Sweden and Norway,
combined with sounds from the street where Smolders resides. The result
is an ionized mixture of organic progressions and soundscapes.

At times, this release displays energetic jolts of adrenaline tempered with
intermittent moments of late night contemplative quiescence. Abstract and
surreal Escher-like moments appear into distant view like a half
remembered dream, and acoustic and electronic Moebius sound strips
suddenly launch without warning.
Touching Extremes  (October 2005)
The acoustic ecology of Jos Smolders manages to refresh the listener's
brain through a sapient dosage of silence and events in a sort of sonic
chemoterapy delivering us from residual particles of predictable
manifestations. These sounds are best enjoyed in a silent environment, with
just a modicum of external activity coming to enhance them, in order to be
able to define their position not only in the surrounding space but also in that
precise moment of your existence; street noises get filtered by effects,
becoming an ever changing solution of fluorescent colours and concrete
digital grains, the whole in a continuous struggle against predetermined
shapes. Morphing voices of animals and humans are refracted in a
thousand directions, yet they always remain within earshot, blending and
fusing in shifting dynamic relationships with semi-organic external activities,
thus reinforcing these soundscapes' evocative appeal. Everything sounds
perfect in this veritable documentary; Smolders confirms his silent, steady
growth as an assembler of suggestions.  (Massimo Ricci)
Igloo  (August 2005)
A sideline symphony for the street. Sounds like cars whizzing by in the rain,
lots of contemplation, space, space, space. Jos Smolders, a graduate of the
collective known as THU20 (back to the mid 80s), reveals a softer, deeper
side of his senses on
Habitat, an acoustic outing. Become a passive
outside listener to indoor goings-on, draw wisdom from the wind, and bear
in mind that when Smolders is ready, he will take a most industrial turn, with
a metallic varietal that he’s aged to perfection. A majority of the beginnings
here, “Nacht 3:30AM” and “Zondag” just float gently. This is “lose yourself,
headphone listening.”  These vague field recordings of birds in the distance
and car doors and engines are spliced and repeated giving the impression
of a childhood history of open space and its man-made interruptions to the
balance of nature. It’s damn subtle (until “Beton”). The assorted percussive
noise actually sounds like a writhing, heavy-breathing organism. It’s more
intricate and awkwardly self-aware than caustic noise for the sake of it. More
like the choreography of electric friction, especially heard on “Arvika” which is
a motorized spring-like doorstop that just rips and purrs and moves so
organically. The track also boasts the howling of what could be boys in an
old, cavernous school hallway. This is a complex listen and may take several
sittings to pick up the delicate minutiae between the static and metallics.
(TJ Norris)
Vital Weekly  (August 2005)
It's been a while since Jos Smolders has released a CD, but when he does
it is spot on. This release from and/OAR fits the label perfectly well. All tracks
are based on field recordings done in the past years. Smolders has not
been known to work much with field recordings as such, let alone
exclusively, so this is somewhat of a debut. Then again, after putting the disc
in and hearing muffled sounds from the street it doesn't take long for
electronics to almost take over completely. I presume these electronic
sounds are all based on the original recordings. The disc features 8 tracks,
three of which seem to function as intermezzo's (between tracks 1 & 3, 3 & 5,
5 & 7) and the last one as a sort of finale (it's called coda). But since there
are no real breaks between the tracks, it's not something that is directly
heard. Okay, so much for the layout, now to the content. This CD is
surprisingly full and rich in colours, textures and dynamics. All tracks are
constructed very carefully and display Smolders' abilities to the maximum
without a doubt. I have rarely heard such extreme make over of acoustic
sound without it's identity getting lost in that process. Smolders works
around this problem all the time, juxtaposing the different material in such a
way that one always somehow knows that these are essentially acoustic
sounds. And that is very well done. Compositions are very well done as well,
always ensuring a certain tension that keeps the listener activated. My
conclusion is simple: this as a great CD! Jos Smolders still rules.
(Roel Meelkop)
Smallfish  (July 2006)
A beautifully constructed set of tracks that, once again, feature a lovely array
of field recordings as the basis for most of the pieces. Whether it's city noise,
whining wind or droning scapes, there's clearly a lot of love that's been put
into gently manipulating the recordings to give them an added dimension.
Occasionally there's a foray into a more noise-based and aggressive style,
but these are sporadic for the most part and really add a level of aural
punctuation that works really well. As always with this form of experimental
electronic music you have to really get into the mindframe to get the most out
of it, but once you click with it it'll give you hours of extremely soothing
entertainment.  (Mike Oliver)