William Basinski – A Shadow In Time

It is very easy with Basinski to ‘Not get it’ and move right along to something more familiar, perhaps something easier, ‘Shake It Off, Shake It Off’ is much more approachable after all, than a 20 minute eulogy to David Bowie titled ‘For David Robert Jones’ built on tape loops and stuttering saxophone. There is also little for the listener to connect with Bowie other than Basinski gave it that title, purported to be due to Bowie inspiring Basinski to pick up a sax in his youth, maybe it’s a nod to ‘Low’, who knows? Not me. This new release is worth persevering with though, it has the same feel as ‘The Disintegration Loops’ and, while some consider him a bit of a snake oil salesman, I don’t, I can listen to these repetitive motifs for hours and not tire of it at all. It has meditative qualities I suppose though I don’t consciously meditate, I quite possibly do without realising I am as the music is so circular it is easy to become both lost in it and entranced by it.

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The second track, which takes up all of side two is ‘A Shadow In Time’ and is less loopy and more orchestral, with a fuller sound but, as with most of the Basinski music I have listened to, nothing much really happens, with this track seemingly building to a crescendo that never appears, quite the opposite happens in fact, as though the crescendo was at the beginning and we are working our way backwards to the start.

So it isn’t for everybody, but for those who it is for, it is a pretty damn good new release, and here it is performed live (ish I suppose) at Superbudda, Torino, Italy:

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