William Basinski – The Disintegration Loops I-IV

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Label: 2062
Released: 2001 (I), 2003 (II, III, IV)
Genre: Ambient
Style: Modern Classical, Experimental, Minimal, Drone

Disintegration Loops…. my brain gets numb when this is on. This has become one of my latest obsessions.

In order to understand and fully appreciate Basinski’s work, one must know the story behind these tapes:

This four-CD masterpiece took life in the 1980s as a series of pastoral tape loops. While converting his loops from analog to digital format, he noticed that the tapes started to disintegrate. As Basinski notes in the liner notes, “The music was dying.” but he kept recording, documenting the death of these glorious short beautiful loops. The result is, not surprisingly, very organic. Each release contains two hypnotizing, decaying melodies (three in IV), each droning for sometimes over an hour, slowly vanishing into nothing.

It was until 2001 when he decided to release these recordings unto the world. The first disc was released in honor of the 9/11 victims, and, honestly, I really can’t think of a better tribute. Basinski geniously achieves to capture the essence of death in his pieces.

All in all, essential.
Buy Basinski’s Desintegration Loops.

Ryoji Ikeda – dataplex [2005]

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Label: Raster-Noton
Released: Dec 2005
Genre: Electronic
Style: Minimal, Microglitch, Experimental, Conceptual
Credits: Other [Artist Management] – Forma
Producer – Ryoji Ikeda

Woke up at 3.46am today for no reason. It was still dark and my mind wandered aimlessly trying to figure out what to do to keep me busy at such hours. Being the internet junkie I am, I decided to surf the net for a while. During this moment of blissful loneliness, I found myself craving for this particular album. I’ve been listening to Alva Noto’s [co-owner of Raster-Noton Records] collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto (specially utp_) a lot recently, which may explain this seemingly spontaneous desire. Ikeda’s work could be described as a mixture between minimal electronic music, glitch and noise – harsh at some points, soft on others, but always intriguing and mesmerizing.

Be warned, though; a sticker on the sleeve says “This CD contains specific waveform data that performs a data-read test for optical drives. The last track will cause some CD players to experience playback errors, with no damage to equipment”. Even though this might be true for most cases, some people have reported damages in their equipment. I think it left my hardware undamaged, but my psyche surely took a good battering.

Must be listened with headphones for full experience.
Approach with caution.