Artist: tobias c. van Veen & Tomas Phillips
Title: If Not, Winter
Catalog Number: and/live 2
Release Year: 2005
Status: Sold Out
01. tobias c. van Veen: exposure.to.ATTK
02. tobias c. van Veen: flesh.ode.to.EM
03. tobias c. van Veen & Tomas Phillips: if not, winter
04. tobias c. van Veen: koan.for.CP
The second release in the "and / live" series features 3 short solo
performances by tobias c. van Veen and 1 long collaborative performance
between van Veen and Tomas Phillips.
The solo tracks by van Veen often display slow brooding shifts of indistinct
shadings and lower register drones, while the collaboration between van
Veen and Phillips is more varied; effortlessly traversing from one hue of
soundscape to another, although not veering too far away from the
seemingly established foundations of mood set forth by the first two solo
tracks of van Veen.
[suggested reading]: "it's the sound of..." by Heather Pokotylo
tobias c. van Veen is mostly known as a D.J. and writer / journalist for
various publications such as e/i Magazine, Grooves, and Wire.
Tomas Phillips is mostly known for his solo CD "On Dit" which was
released by the well known German label Trente Oiseaux.
Touching Extremes (October 2005)
and/OAR keeps releasing what's among the best electroacoustic music
today, this CD being a classic case in point. If Not, Winter is rather cryptic,
even starting from the pretty hermetic - almost Hafler Trio style - liner notes;
its initial parts move around an underground vital pulse of which we can
somehow feel the distant power - like hearing the muffled sound of highway
traffic while being silent in a room with the windows shut - while additional
beautiful segments of cloudy moods become at times intimidating,
effortlessly assertive in all their spreading energy. The long title track
explores low-frequency areas, provoking a physical reaction when our
auricular membranes are on the receiving end of an impressive mass of
barely contained aggregates of huge vibrations. The tendency to staticity
which constitutes this magnificent record's complexion does not preclude us
from being emotionally involved; these soundscapes are a perfect
soundtrack for loners, imbued as they are of immaterial drones and
undefined suspensions - substantially ethereal, so to speak.
Vital Weekly (November 2005)
It has been a while since the last live CDR on and/OAR but here is the
second one, by the for me unknown Tobias C. Van Veen (who despite his
Dutch name is from Canada) and Tomas Philips. Van Veen has three solo
tracks, which he recorded at Steim in Amsterdam, but the main portion of this
CD is a thirty-five minute collaborative live track which they recorded together.
This piece is a fine combination of deep sonic rumbling and high pitched
frequencies. They shift through their materials with great care, but also with
great variation. Sometimes sounds are played for a while with little variation,
but just as you start think that something lasts for too long, things start to
move forward again. A very fine piece. Van Veen's solo pieces are even more
sparser orchestrated, consisting of slowly developing hums, rumbling at the
earth's surface. It tops off an interesting excursion in microsound.
(Frans de Waard)
Grooves (February 2006)
A work of glacial proportions, If Not, Winter moves at an infinitesimal pace
towards an unknown destination. The compositions are a container for
narrative, lacking distinguishing marks of their own but open to the
projections of the listener. “exposure.to.ATTK” begins the disc with the sound
of a windswept ice field, beneath which an ominous drone slowly accretes.
The elements uncover a corpse on “flesh.ode.to.EM,” as the drone becomes
dominant, dwarfing the environmental sounds.
If the first two tracks are the story of a death, then the third track (the only
collaborative piece between van Veen and Phillips) is a flashback to the
deceased’s former life, the only thing with color on the entire disc. At over 35
minutes in length, it explores a variety of textures, noticeably processed by
the hands of man: The drones continue, but human voices, birdsong, and
various rattlings dip in and out of the mix, suggestions of deeds and actions.
The total effect brings to mind the final scene of horror maestro Lucio Fulci’s
The Beyond, in which the protagonists unwittingly stumble into hell, a grey,
foggy plain occupied by paralyzed bodies and itinerant whispers. A short
fourth track, “koan.for.CP,” is an untied knot, using chime-like sounds to
suggest the reclamation of the human remains by nature, flecks of snow
muffling the spectral moan of mummified flesh.
Indeed, a sense of abandonment shrouds the entire disc. This isn’t ambient
to relax to; it’s a prelude to tragedy, filtering primal forces through the most
man made of devices. Haiku-like in its evocative simplicity, If Not, Winter’s
strength and weakness are one: having little to offer. (John H. DeGroot)