William Basinski

The Disintegration Loops III

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William Basinski probably did not intend to make a requiem for New York City on September 11, 2001, but in a monumental coincidence, he has. On that morning, Basinski was transferring some analog tape loops that he had created in the 1980s into a digital format. What he found while playing the tapes is that because of their age and the instability of magnetic tape over long periods of time, the tape itself was literally disintegrating. Each time he would play the loop, bits of iron oxide would fall from the tape and the music on it would sound more fragmented during the next repetition. "dlp4" is the more compelling of the two: a simple piano and string melody is mangled by the forces of time and entropy, decaying by the end of a short 20 minutes into fragments of sound emerging only to be suddenly cut short and replaced by complete silence. It is the true sound of deconstruction, the slow but relentless death of beauty over time. "dlp5," clocking in at 52 minutes, is a much simpler orchestral melody than "dlp4," and decomposes in a subtler manner. The music becomes more and more muddy as it loops, with less overt damage to the tape. Remarkably, the piece retains its structure until the very end of the piece, where the melody truly begins to fracture and become consumed by silence. While structurally similar to the rest of the Disintegration Loops series, this volume is more accessible than the others.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
20:11 Amazon
2
52:20 Amazon
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