Today marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Katrina was only a Category 3 hurricane when it hit New Orleans in August 2005. But circumstances conspired to make it one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. The ingredients for disaster were in place before Katrina even hit.
New Orleans is almost entirely below sea level and surrounded by water.
City officials had known for years that a major hurricane could cause the levees (walls that hold the water back) to fail. But the problem was never addressed, even as the planet warmed and sea levels rose.
Meanwhile the canals and floodwalls built to make the Louisiana coast habitable for humans have displaced the sediments that support its wetlands.
Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, which form a natural barrier against hurricanes, are disappearing at a rate of 33 football fields a day.
We won’t soon forget what happened. People trapped on rooftops after the water had risen through the floorboards, poured through windows and filled the attic. Mothers and small children—and children without their mothers—stranded for days in the overcrowded Superdome. New Orleans, one of America’s most vibrant and visited cities, underwater.
Hurricanes have many ways of doing us harm: high winds, storm surge, flooding. But people contribute to the problem. We build on vulnerable coastlines and below sea level. Our industry erodes the land that protects us. There will always be natural disasters. Are we turning them into unnatural disasters?
Brand new album by UK-based guitarist/sound artist Simon Scott for the 12k label. This release mines the familiar tropes that we’ve come to expect from Taylor Deupree’s imprint over the past few years: subtle field recordings of nature, digital fx processing, looped guitar phrases and a liberal application of reverb. As the press release points out, the artwork, title and indeed the album’s sonics take as their point of inspiration the Fens wetland, located in East Anglia, UK. This release is, we’re told, sourced less from guitar than Scott’s previous outings, an assertion that I suspect is meant to draw our attention to the details of the rather beautiful hydrophone/field recordings, as I’m fairly certain I hear quite a bit of guitar-sourced material in all of these pieces. The album’s seven tracks form a seamless and coherent narrative of carefully sculpted motifs. The abundance of field recording-based material makes me think of the work of fellow 12k recording artists Solo Andata. In the concluding piece, which serves as a comedown from the album’s most bombastic track, watery sounds are wed to faraway drones to superb effect. Ultimately, “Below Sea Level” proves to be another solid installment of the current 12k ethos and certainly comes recommended to fans of this type of ambience. - Alex Cobb
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Description From Photographer if Any:
Watching the ocean fold over an unforgiving, shallow reef below. Eyes wide open, feeling alive!
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