Vancouver violinist Meredith Bates has a long history of performing and improvising with other like-minded musicians. Founder and leader of the improvisational sextet Like the Mind and of the multimedia collaboration Sound Migrations, she has also recorded and performed with Peggy Lee, Leah Abramson, and Ford Pier as well as the Juno award-winning group Pugs and Crows. The perhaps aptly named If Not Now is Bates’s first solo recording—and it is truly a solo recording, with the instrumentation consisting entirely of her processed violin and viola playing. Still, Bates and producer Chris Gestrin have created a vast and varied soundscape using just those instruments, with moments of dramatic intensity, peaceful reflection, and nearly everything in between. The more than two-hour recording consists of two pieces, each divided into two parts. Both pieces refer to the acoustic environment surrounding us, whether it’s birdsong and tree breezes or the motorized hum of the city. In “Mountain Bird Suite,” Bates’s violin swoops and chirps like a forest serenade and then shifts to overlapping waves of gentle pulses interspersed with lively melodic passages. “Broken Music” is more deeply meditative, with extended tones contrasted with gently plucked notes coming in waves, followed by shimmering tones rising and falling. Its second part opens with achingly beautiful string harmonies that slowly advance and retreat, like breathing; it then gradually builds to an exhilarating peak of sound before retreating to gentler plucking and bowing. The effect almost feels like being underwater with sounds floating by, or watching the Northern Lights flashing in the sky. Sometimes it sounds like one person playing one violin, other times like an orchestra, but it is completely enthralling from start to finish.