SCHWEBEN “Trees” C32 (Cosmic Winnetou)


There’s an easy connection to make between ambient music and forest wandering. You’re just there, communing with nature, and every sound that surrounds you is “ambient” in its basic form: it produces “an encompassing atmosphere.” Schweben, aka Philipp Hager, takes this to its obvious extreme, marrying field recordings with ambient music (synthesizers and such) to produce “an encompassing atmosphere” that you can take with you anywhere – you don’t have to be stuck out in the middle of the woods to have a similar experience. But what you should have is headphones, because otherwise you’re going to miss out on the subtleties of the delicate sonic experience (which you should already be planning for anyway, knowing that you bought this tape from Cosmic Winnetou).
Each track is arboreal by design; there’s “Arbol del Tule” (Tree of Tule, Mexico), “Tree of Life,” “Lone Cypress,” “Major Oak,” and “Baobab.” Each is a gentle paean to growth, as the long-form, patient tones mimic the development of plants. You can almost see sprouts and buds stretching and blooming as you listen to Trees, the intricate detail of the sounds zoomed in to the organic reactions. Sounds intimate, solitary, relaxing, doesn’t it? It sure does! And it delivers as you sink deeper into the trance, the scent of bark and leaves and needles hitting your nose, the underbrush crackling beneath your boots. Maybe instead of taking the woods with you back into civilization you should just give in and take your Walkman out into the woods – I’m actually thinking that’s the best way to go about this right now.