Album Discussion: The Disintegration Loops by William Basinski

(Image collage courtesy of William Basinski.)

William Basinski is an experienced avant-garde musician in New York City from the late 90’s. While I’d urge to check out the rest of his discography, when someone mentions Basinski, The Disintegration Loops comes to mind. Read on to find out why this series of albums still affects listener to this day.

Out digitally on Temporary Residence Ltd. for the world to listen in 2014, William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops is a powerful and emotive work split in four discs from 2002 to 2003. It’s not only emotionally moving in its music, but its story is also coincidental to the point of mythical proportions. Essentially, the magnetic tape loops presented are a compilation of twenty years of his past music recorded to digital. What makes them so compelling is the decaying and fragile nature of the loops. Take the opener of “DLP 1.1” for example, arguably one of the most powerful and poignant listens of lo-fi music, it can only be described as heavenly.

“DLP 1.1” by William Basinski, courtesy of Temporary Residence Ltd.

The most interesting part of the story however is in relation to the four images used for the cover of the releases. Presumably as he finished the project itself on the morning of September 11th, the Twin Towers fell that day and he recorded footage of the smoke from a neighbor’s rooftop. The footage was superimposed over the audio of the first track, and the stills from the footage were later used as the covers of the release.

While I personally admire the first and last disc of the Disintegration Loops, the entire release is a passionate tale permeated by the context of its 9/11 incident but also for the melancholic feelings presented of the original magnetic tapes.

If you want to listen to the entire release digitally, stream it on Bandcamp HERE.

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