Title: Rotting Away
Release Date: 2014 Nov 1
Genre: Dark Ambient
License: CC BY-NC-ND
D.N.P. stands for Dona Nobis Pacem (grant us peace). Most of the time I associate Latin, and a phrase such as Dona Nobis Pacem in particular, with the church. Call it the curse of having been raised in a house with a Roman Catholic parent. But, in this case, I think the phrase takes on a different dimension… Rotting away: grant us peace to return to our past.
D.N.P.: Rotting Away
D.N.P. is Chris Downing, an artist from Birmingham, U.K. On this release he is bringing us a work about darkness, per the release notes:
The absence of light occurs everywhere. Every day we feel the impact of its unsympathetic tendrils….and with the darkness….fear, revulsion and horror reveals itself….
But this release seems to me to be more about decay than about the lack of light. It’s the rotting that turns the once familiar shapes and structures around us back into formless things that we no longer recognize. It happens to things all the time: the human body ages and decays, buildings grow old, disintegrate, are condemned and torn down (lke the Birmingham Central Library pictured on the cover of this release).
Industrial decay is a part of our society today. Here in the United States we see massive examples of it in Detroit where many of the old automobile and large equipment manufacturing plants have been abandoned and left to rot.
And how do we interpret this? As a sign of death. We don’t see it as a sign of the change that is occurring in our society, we don’t see it as a shift to something new and different. We see it as a loss. We see that something that was a part of us is no longer there in the same manner, and we feel that there is a part who we are that has died. And with that death we see the darkness, or the lack of light becoming more pervasive.
And that’s what he hear on this recording: structures that have been decayed or rotted until they have reach a dark and primitive form. These are the recordings of the building blocks of our society as they are turning to dust, and in the process of dying before our ears.
This points to one of the bigger problems that we see today. No one wants to take these basic elements and transform them into something else. They just let them rot into near nothingness, and then sweep away the remaining dust.
In this way this is an interesting work: we can hear the underpinnings of other songs, the elements that can become something else if we put the effort into them. But, there is little hope of that happening in these pieces. The will for transformation just isn’t there, and that’s the message of this work.
This is a work that is designed to make the listener think. And it succeeds well in that regard. We hear the elements of form and structure that have been reduced to barely recognizable elements. It’s like looking at the girders and beams of a building protruding from the ground: we know it was once a building, but only the basic structure is left.
(Aside: I do have to mention that I found one of the titles on this work to be quite amusing: ‘An Unfortunate Typo That Impacted The Future of Humanity’. Every time read that title I can’t help but think that’s something out of a Douglas Adams novel. It makes me think of the Vogons in Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy – the intergalactic demolition crew. Which is a darkly funny way of looking at Rotting Away, whether intentional or not.)