Talking for a few minutes with William Basinski outside of promotional obligations is all it takes to absorb a healthy dose of rare human depth. The man exudes absolute tranquillity, deriving from a gentle temperament but, above all, from the awareness of having created something artistically close to immortality. His trademark is loops, as the world knows. However, anyone nowadays can make a record of loops. Basinski’s have always been special in their instant recognizability: musically impeccable, exceptionally hypnotic, an aura between dramatic and nostalgic attracting the listener from the very first seconds. Sorrow and consciousness are both perceivable in those recurring waves.
Lamentations makes us enjoy the finest Basinski, capable of eliciting surreal atmospheres, various dimensions of feeling and countless currents of thought. It’s a collection of twelve relatively short tracks that nevertheless stimulate the emotional sphere quite intensely. Nebulous environments where the melodic and harmonic traits of reiteration may “emerge from the grey clouds” like a sudden luminescence, or remain nearly suffocated inside an acoustic cocoon that struggles to free its butterfly, as in the magnificent “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. Or else, orchestral/operatic snippets pushed towards awesome heights, their spellbinding ineluctability restating the necessity of being cleansed from the current bad vibes.
In “Transfiguration”, ultra-low frequencies enhance the decadent splendor of the thematic fragment to engender a heartbreaking wholeness, without concessions to sugary weeping. It is the ideal representation of Basinski’s art of sonic assemblage: the evocation of pain that was buried somewhere, retrieved from the archives of the soul to remind everyone that existing does not necessarily presuppose the ambition to be different from what one is. Following the flow of events, whether cyclical or simply random, our individual trajectories appear better defined within sound. Even when they are accompanied by the imperfection of vinyl.