ONLINE > RECOLLECTION issue 2 > The Ultimate Umbrella Group
The rise and fall of the ultimate umbrella group
by TDJ/Focus

One of the first groups that really struck a chord with me was Higher Computer Science (HCS/5005). In hindsight their demos may not have been anything special but back then they just radiated coolness to me. This was helped by the fact that their so-called 'leader', Herkules, was a bit older than the average scener and it showed in his scrolltexts. They also had a very prominent war with Charles Deenen, resulting in the famous "Federation Against TMC (FAT)" and some very funny demos. To this day I can still recite the lyrics to one of the digis they made.

In 1987 the group, which also contained people like The Silver Surfer (later in Hotline) and Zen (he of Sphinx fame) became part of something even bigger, even cooler. Together with a few other groups (SFC, Squonk Society) and some guys who were until then flying solo (Dutch Cracking Service, Kraak Vaak, the Cobra) they formed an umbrella group called "The Last Science", also known as TLS.

A while ago it became clear to me that not everybody in today's scene actually knows what an umbrella group is. Now I'm not sure if I can explain it correctly but let me give it a try, since I am typing anyway, and you are obviously reading this chapter, so it seems neither one of us has anything better to do. Basically an umbrella group is like a semi-permanent cooperation (think SCS+TRC to the nth power) with a unique moniker to boot. Most of the time the members were groups that already made a name for themselves, and which acted on a radically different level than the normal subgroups that were also around. Apart from TLS there were several more umbrella groups: also from Holland were the Dutches (with groups like Beatless, Channel 4, Shamrock and HSP) and The Black Tulip (Cool Cracking Team, The Dream Team, Decibel amongst others). In Finland you had The Jezebel Union with Finnish Gold, a group that strangely enough also was part of The Austrian Union. And the Riffs, although originally hailing from the Netherlands as well, was more international-oriented, with Swedish and German groups being part of it. And yes, even I gave it a shot: in late 1987 I formed Fiction, managed to interest a few groups from all over Europe but eventually nothing ever came out of it ..

Still, none of these ever had the same grandeur as The Last Science, especially after more and more teams joined up, and not just Dutch ones. From Norway came the Lords (with Sauron, later of Illusion, in it), from Germany the Scientists and the United Artists. And one more Dutch group that became part of the TLS machine was The Fashion, a group I myself will always hold dear as one of their members was in my class and in fact helped me out with my first demos. And this impressive collective was responsible for some pretty darn good demos. For those not familiar with the TLS back-catalogue: I urge you to start downloading their productions.

In 1989 it all came to a end though, mainly caused by the fact that most of the members (sometimes even whole groups) left for the amiga. Reading the scrolltexts in their last demos actually makes me feel sad. One of the original members complains about the fact that everybody's gone and almost begs for new blood, and another guy asks if there are any other active TLS members out there and if so, can they please contact him .. But while The Last Science may not have gotten the ending it deserved one thing is clear: they truly were the ultimate umbrella group.