Streamline

Digital reissue of a 1979 work already cut on a Die Stadt vinyl a while back, A Red Score In Tile affirms William Basinski’s place among contemporary minimalists. The unfortunate concurrent circumstances affecting his celebrated Disintegration Loops – released some 22 years after this piece’s creation, in case you didn’t do the maths – were as unique as the music itself, and in a way it’s everybody’s fault (including mine) if grief and sadness are invariably mentioned when commenting on the Texan’s subsequent opuses. A sound artist’s greatness is born from chance and intuition, but a technical grounding must always subsist, and it’s worth remembering that, beyond the loops, Basinski is also an excellent clarinettist and an egoless promoter, who actively contributed to Antony Hegarty’s rise to fame (can’t wait to hear their soundtrack to Robert Wilson’s The Life And Death Of Marina Abramovic, premiering in Manchester in July). Start thinking of him as a modern exponent of profound minimalism: the entrancing blur of the repetitive piano fragment upon which this piece is based symbolizes a chosen path, while confirming the man’s skill in finding snippets of otherwise less essential material and making them his own. Basinski’s sonic frailties turn moods into psychological dyes; as dejection-scented as they may be, these perpetual orchestral scraps remain, above everything else, paradigms of pregnant synthesis.

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