WILLIAM BASINSKI – Shortwave Music


The first four tracks of “Shortwave music” constitute the original nucleus of a much sought-after Noton LP from 1997, while “Particle showers”, closing the CD, is an additional track that brings the total duration to almost one hour, everything according to the high standards that are typically expected from the Brooklyn-based artist. Those who don’t know this material and associate Basinski with albums like “Disintegration loops” or “Melancholia” will be partially surprised, as the cold embrace that the shortwaves give to the pieces is often able to swathe whatever sense of heartbreak one may feel. Considering that this composer became known worldwide for the association of his mournful repetitions and the most bloodcurdling event in modern history, it is curious that a wonderful moment like “Fringe area” – created, like all the rest, in 1982 (!) – sounds like a prophetic vision of what was to happen in New York 19 years later: a couple of decadent, nostalgic loops are encrusted by the frozen evidences of hesitant underbrush signals, a highly emotional moment for pondering about the intangible elements of our most intimate experiences that would be the perfect soundtrack for a documentary about desolated metropolitan areas. “On a frontier of wires”, lasting almost 24 minutes, decrees the triumph of cruel disturbances, unsociable frequency cascades wrestling with sick calmness to underscore a circumspect walk through the ruins of a soul destroyed by self-doubt and angst. Different, yes, but an instantly recognizable “Basinski must” nevertheless.


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