CD: Nautilus NA08 [2004]

De Zee
De Storm
Het Water
De Opvang
De Afbraak
De Zee (Reprise)

Disasters, be they natural or man made, hold a morbid fascination for many people. Myself included. As the body count mounts up so the awe in the spectacle being played out in front of our eyes increases with a sickening intensity that should shame us but in reality thrills like an injection of a class ’A’ drug. The tragic events of the Tsunami in the Far East will forever be etched in the mind until the next one happens along. The pictures transmitted of the destructive full power of Mother Earth unleashed brought home the realisation of just what a fragile and uncertain future we all face. What a mind blowing head trip. Of course the problem is that we tend to forget about the other events that have occurred in the past as we consciously keep our focus on the present. Only through archival material presented by books and radio and television programmes are we made kept aware of elapsed events that at the time were as earth shattering as the recent tragedy to befall upon the human race.

There has been a recent spate of recordings put out by artists, including Westwind, ACOH, and Predominance, that have put to music in a variety of ways the loss of life through different circumstances. "1953" by The [Law-Rah] Collective continues with this trend. Dealing with the flood disaster that killed more than 1800 people in Holland, and who outside of that country remembers that catastrophe, the story of this sad episode is told through spoken passages in Dutch over subtle, and not so subtle, dark ambient electronic effects. The music never fully dominates proceedings allowing the voice to tell the harrowing unfolding tale of horror that awaited the participants. Slowly building on a foundation of drones, noise and loops to a crescendo of ear splitting pandemonium and back again the listener is drawn in to the spectacle of imminent destruction that is being played out. It would have been easy for The Law-Rah Collective to have made a frivolous recording, blighting the memory of those who died , but they have done the subject matter proud with a solemn and respective piece of music that conveys perfectly the emotions that this subject matter invokes. Without doubt "1953" is a traumatic and uncomfortable listening experience but like rubber necking a car crash scene you can’t turn away. The ghosts of the past remain lodged inside the mind hours after the music has finished.

In many ways this is the perfect epitaph to an event long past forgotten by the masses and The [Law-Rah] Collective are to be congratulated in their achievement in conveying the story so conscientiously and compassionately.


[The [Law-Rah] Collective] / [Nautilus]

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