William Basinski, Mind Over Mirrors, Robert Beatty | Bohemian National Cemetery | Experimental | Chicago Reader

William Basinski, Mind Over Mirrors, Robert Beatty Member Picks Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Sat., Dec. 17, 8 p.m. 2016

Since emerging in 2002, New York composer and sound artist William Basinski has been delivering a steady stream of hypnotic, richly meditative work. In the wake of 9/11 he began releasing music built from decaying tape loops, which at the time were literally disintegrating as they cycled around a jerry-rigged tape player—and he hasn’t substantially altered that method since. The shifting textures are determined by source material he puts on loop, whether it’s the easy-listening recordings that surfaced on his early four-album series The Disintegration Loops (2002-2003) or the simple piano arpeggio he recorded for his piece Cascade and further murked up through repetition and degradation for Deluge (both released last year by Temporary Residence). There’s a ghostly beauty to everything he does, which makes it proper that one of the two pieces on his forthcoming new album, A Shadow in Time (out January 17), is a sonic eulogy for David Bowie. The 20-minute piece “For David Robert Jones” opens with a vaguely triumphant brightness that dims with each pass of its muffled, overtone-haloed fragment, until a second needling and noisy loop materializes a third of the way through, ratcheting tension and adding conflict as both streams of sound mutate toward their conclusions. The title track veers into slightly new territory: it’s an unfettered exploration of drone that either disguises or altogether lacks the trademark repetition of loops.

Peter Margasak

Price: $25

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