More glorious tape-loop-based minimal composition from William Basinski. The Deluge presents an alternative approach to the source material used on recent companion piece Cascade: a piano loop is processed via various subtle feedback systems, until the whole thing washes away in a haze. White LP on Temporary Residence.
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Tape looper to the stars William Basinski has been stripping away excess concept from his work since the rise of ‘The Disintegration Loops’, composing pieces that are important more for the sounds they make than for their process or history. ‘The Deluge’, however, finds him back with the stories: this record is thematically related to CD release ‘Cascade’, whose piano loop is carried like a stream into silence. ‘The Deluge’ takes that loop and straddles it with feedback loops spiralling into different lengths. The result is that the piano is hard to follow: it’s a straight line, but bridges go over it and tunnels under.
Basinski’s overtones might be the result of trial and error, here, in so far as he’s modulating the time-lengths for loops and seeing how they mesh together -- as ever, though, he proves himself to be the master of blending overtones into drone. The piece is gentle but doesn’t feel like it should be, the piano disjointed as if it were being replicated through parallel universes taking place at minutely different times. A subtle drone exists to upend the piano’s half-melodies, but it’s hard to tell if it’s permanent or not; Basinski makes his drones so subliminal you feel you might have dreamt them.
Back when Tim Hecker was less interested in scarred noise drone, he made records like this one: ‘Mirages’ may have been louder and more intrusive, but it also obsessed over conflicting overtones and the strangely muzak quality of ambient. It’s been done before, but Basinski is not trying to make singular art here; he’s made a pretty piano piece, taken it out of its frame and then let it be forgotten. The quiet and forceless fade out of ‘The Deluge’ suggests a rather contented pioneer.
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- The Deluge by William Basinski
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