"That distinguished history at once evaporates into and illuminates the inspiring presence of these two Phillips performances, another leap in time, linking the 1989 concert Camouflage, a then state-of-the-art account of bass possibilities, to Ahoy! a voyager's greeting shouted across time. It documents Phillips' appearance on the stage of Victoriaville's Colisee in May 2019, a slight and almost spectral presence standing once again with the singular bulk of his bass.
But Phillips is one of the few true masters, at one with the nuances of the instrument, one who understands that amidst its woods and metals, the essential components are air and form and time, projection, shape and resonance. Before such magisterial sound, words become silly putty: there is more air by volume than any other element in the bass. In a symphony orchestra, that air would match tympani or tuba. Water? If it begins with a shouted "Ahoy," it's forcefully evident in "Abate, Arise," from its initial thundering abyss to its turbine rhythms. Phillips' bass, always a bass, is intimate double to an exalted musical consciousness, but personal orchestra as well, from vast hand drum to kora and even shakuhachi, or narrative, a Melville-like Odyssey in which bow ultimately becomes bowsprit, spy glass in stringy rigging, notes as Noah's ark doves launched in landward hopes — sounds of cool flicker fire and exotic earth song." - Stuart Broomer