Thursday, June 3, 2010

William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops

I've really been digging this album lately. This is the first part of four different album that quite a bit of patience when listening to but the entire product is incredible. Long flowing minimal ambient music that actually physically degrades over the course of the entire track coupled with a really cryptic back story:

"disintegration loop 1.1, william basinski, video,2001, 62 m. In the process of archiving and digitizing analog tape loops from work I had done in 1982, I discovered some wonderful sweeping pastoral pieces I had forgotten about. Beautiful, lush cinematic truly American pastoral landscapes swept before my ears and eyes. With excitement I began recording the first one to cd, mixing a new piece with a subtle random arpeggiated countermelody from the Voyetra. To my shock and surprise, I soon realized that the tape loop itself was disintegrating: as it played round and round, the iron oxide particles were gradually turning to dust and dropping into the tape machine, leaving bare plastic spots on the tape, and silence in these corresponding sections of the new recording. I had heard about this happening, and frankly was very afraid of this happening to me since so much of my early work was precariously near the end of its shelf life. Still, I had never actually seen it happen, yet here it was happening. The music was dying. I was recording the death of this sweeping melody. It was very emotional for me, and mystical as well. Tied up in these melodies were my youth, my paradise lost, the American pastoral landscape, all dying gently, gracefully, beautifully. Life and death were being recorded here as a whole: death as simply a part of life: a cosmic change, a transformation. When the disintegration was complete, the body was simply a little strip of clear plastic with a few clinging chords, the music had turned to dust and was scattered along the tape path in little piles and clumps. Yet the essence and memory of the life and death of this music had been saved: recorded to a new media, remembered. As far as Sept. 11th goes, perhaps you had to be here and see it with your own eyes and experience the horror and the ghastly smell, and smoke, sirens, no television or telephone, F-16s strafing the city at ear splitting volume, the fear, agony and deep sadness, see peoples faces in the subway, the deep longing bonded look people gave each other, the lip compression signifying compassion, to understand the magnitude of what we felt here. This was the end of the world...and we were literally sitting up on the roof all day and into night watching without believing as NYC burned, and listening to the heartbreaking Disintegration Loops...I's the soundtrack to the end of the world...I had been assigned the job without knowing the details, it was done, and here we are...The Greatest Show on Earth, Armageddon. We were all literally losing our minds in terror, each person looping onto what holds him or her together..clinging to that which could provide some kind of release or explanation..just as each of the individual melodies in the Disintegration Loops their own pace, seeming to hold onto that which made the melody unique, while letting go of the unimportant sustains or gently adding rests incrementally before the really blew my mind. I hadn't really thought of trying to "achieve" anything. But perhaps, if the music enabled listeners to contemplate the temporal nature of life in this world and come to some small inkling or understanding as I did of a redemptive spirituality that animates us and continues on, then that would be an achievement."


*download fixed*

1 comment:

Hamish said...

download link is just a link to the cover art!