William Basinski: A Shadow In Time (LP, 2062, January 2017)

As I’ve mentioned before, you don’t expect a new William Basinski album to be a radical departure: almost imperceptible evolution is more his thing. But this does feel like a little bit of a step forward. The self-titled A-side is 17 minutes of tape loops supplemented by a Voyetra 8 synth and other electronics, apparently dedicated to a friend who committed suicide. I can’t really work out how it does what it does, but it is atmospheric and emotionally rich and — whisper it — possibly even better than the Disintegration Tapes. That piano line that comes in near the end is just superb. (Aside: The LP sleeve says it’s 17 minutes, although I haven’t timed it; the digital version is 23. The order of the tracks is also swapped on the digital version. Go figure.) On the B-side we get the 20 minute For David Robert Jones. Who knew Basinski was a Bowie fan? Though I’m not totally surprised. Again, it’s tape loops and Voyetra 8 and this time a blaring, mournful saxophone line joins in about a third of the way through, apparently quoting from the track Subterraneans on Low, and it’s another cracker. This is Basinski’s subtle magic at its strongest.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Modern Classical / Ambient.

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