November 30, 1999: Christopher DeLaurenti was down in the streets of Seattle, microphone in hand, to document the World Trade Organization protest. Later he edited his high-quality recordings into an hourlong piece of audio vérité. The work flows seamlessly, condensing the events of the day into something more than a narrative. DeLaurenti doesn't develop a story, no character is named, and he doesn't stick to a specific group of protesters or ask them to comment on the situation. The microphone captures what happens in its vicinity; the story develops itself. The exuberant crowd chants and percussion jams early in the day are interrupted by the police forces taking action against the protesters, and the piece ends on a vocal lament from a group of participants mourning the death of democracy (well, that's surely one way to interpret both the events and DeLaurenti's piece). The work first came out in late 2000 on the album N30: Live at the World Trade Organization Protest, rounded up with two unrelated works. In November 2003, DeLaurenti reissued this album as a two-CD set. The second disc adopts the same format: one hourlong piece and two shorter addenda. "N30: Who Guards the Guardians?" reverses the point of view. After showing the protest from the protesters' standpoint, the composer now gathers official and unofficial recordings of police transmissions from November 30, once again letting the documents speak for themselves -- speak of how unprepared police forces were and how amateurishly (and humanly) they reacted to the situation. In both of these long pieces, it would have been easy to bet on emotion and exploit the "human angle" of this historical day. The strength of N30 resides in the fact that DeLaurenti keeps things decent and true, letting the events unfold in your ears, putting you there. Don't worry about emotions; they will get to you just the same, ringing truer and more forcefully.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture