THE [LAW-RAH] COLLECTIVE: Field of View CD Ant-Zen
For me, the ‘Collective’ have always given more than the Dark Ambient moniker they have usually associated with. Fundamentally the music has always been centralised round the foundations of drones that find themselves occasionally flirting and hanging around indirectly with other elements of the electronic scene, even if they bare zero resemblence sound-wise by anything produced by their colleagues.
Bauke Van Der Val laid the foundations solely for what this project would ultimately become. Gradually with the addition of Martijn Pieck and now the reintroduction of female vocalist Hiekelien Van Den Herik (after her appearances on ‘1953’ and ‘…as it is’), this latest version of Law-Rah truly feels like the solid collective their name implies.
Opening up with ‘From a Distance’, we are treated to sparse vocalisations from Herik who is in turn joined later on in the track with Bauke. The music rises initially as one multi-layered drone that eventually gives rise to an almost Dead Can Dance pad, that in turn eases into an undercurrent of rich, inky sub level ambience, with a slow machine head hypnotic beat to cement the latter stages together.
‘Power’ has all the markings of those tense moments that arise mid-field in any self-respecting horror movie; the airy ambient pads that have a backward feel to them are a pleasure to engulf yourself in. It’s about 2 minutes into this that first wave of obscurity hits, as the resonating hypnosis is broken with the off-key harmonies of Herik once again, interrupting all with a light percussion that eventually is accompanied by further light drones. It’s a difficult beast to describe, but imagine ambient drone work produced and chopped together the same way a Jazz artist would approach their compositions; bizarre, but it works.
The remainder of this latest release follows suit admirably, never drifting from the path this trio have chosen for this new offering. There are my favourites of course, namely ‘Underneath’ which typifies everything I love about The [Law-Rah] Collective. With a combination of varying degrees of simplistic headspaces that range from dark to light in an ultimately immersive journey, it’s easy to misplace time as you lose yourself in the frosty imagery this unfolds in your mind.
‘Field of View’ is an impressive addition to the lengthy works from this act that have come before, with touch more bravery to attempt something a little different to the norm, whilst still retaining the essential ingredients that make this act what it is. As a project the evolutionary status this album provides will be better served to those who have an understanding of the Collective’s history, to be consumed as one long story; although this more than holds enough weight to tie down the attention of the uninitiated as well.