When tragedy strikes, we all turn to something tangible we love, enjoy and know will bring solace to a weeping heart. For Jim Ottaway it is his music, his expression and his beloved time spent creating, stepping out of everyday life to create a time-scape of sound that travels and takes with it, the voyager.
On the death of much beloved friend and mentor Father Reg Mills in 2019, his world redefined, as it does with the endings and beginning of life. To this end, Beautiful Desolation portrays the intense sadness, the eventual acceptance and healing which only time has the ability to begin to mend.
Two tracks make up the soundscape, raw, beautiful and full of deep expression. Although Jim Ottaway refers to this as dark and deep, it is far from that, although without a doubt it contains the very basis of all these emotions.
The first section, Apocalyptic Signs, is spacey, intangible, clean, clear and simply asks to be accepted as it is, whereas the second part, Beautiful Desolation, begins with an almost ghostly summoning of the bells, reminding one of the ancient mariners and their superstitions; the deep sea mists, the eerie nature of the sea at dead calm, the ghostly stillness of the shroud like sheets as they hang lifeless, the timber creaking and groaning in the stillness of the mists.
Created to define the journey of the soul to the other world, the otherworld of many things, of the leaving, the journey and eventual destination unknown to us all, this soundscape, as does life’s journey, contains many things and interestingly, could be considered as a work that redefines the ‘boundaries of electronica’; a style of music which could almost be classed as non-emotional in what can often considered as a clean, precise construction of sound.
Beautiful Desolation is dark and infinitely intriguing without a doubt, and in so many ways is perhaps Ottaway at his finest. Pure, stripped back and without and predefined targets, the music or sound should you prefer, simply flows, allowing the emotions to be brought forth, examined and eventually replaced with a glimmer of acceptance, healing and light.