William Basinski
Melancholia


4.5
superb

Review

by Neoteric USER (86 Reviews)
June 16th, 2008 | 16 replies | 13,656 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: tape loop galore.

Something about music being completely made of old tape loops seem to fascinate me greatly, so it's no surprise that William Basinski has become my latest obsession. Melancholia does exactly what it says in the title, the atmosphere of these pieces bathe in superb melancholy, usually through minimal, fragile piano pieces which seem strung throughout the album. Melancholia, like his masterpiece The Disintegration Loops, is essentially one long song but is apparently separated into 14 individual tracks. These tracks vary from one minute, to eight minutes, but the song lengths are usually determined by how long it takes to get a particular point or sound across. On first glance, it may seem like there isn't really anything on offer here, but as you settle into the tones displayed, it becomes a strong entrancing listen.

Melancholia is a test of repetition, with only one piano or cello part throughout each track and with some parts even showing up later on. But as the album progresses, the sounds you once heard make a very welcoming return, almost as if they were never even there. It's intriguing how Basinski can make an album's flow seem so natural, even though the sounds here were recorded at different periods of time. Melancholia is perfect for many occasions, from relaxing reading time to 3am insomniac depression. These tracks are so subtle that there isn't much in the way of concentrated listens, but letting it settle into the background will surely make the album have a bigger impact. One day I hope to make an album that has such a hard hitting emotional value to it, and that's essentially what Melancholia's strongest point is. Piano and cello are some of the beautiful instruments I've heard and the way that Basinski uses them is extraordinary. Ambient music is able to shut off your mind and enter you into a subconscious world of relaxation, this album is able to throw your mind into a different headspace and that's essentially what art is.

Melancholia will probably not be the album that Basinski will be known for after his death and will probably not be a stand-out album for many people, but the way that this album changes your reality for 46 minutes certainly makes it deserving of the title. William Basinski is generally underrated and is usually overshadowed by his band Current 93, but I feel his music speaks on way more many levels than Current 93's music ever will. In the end, Melancholia really is "the soundtrack to a crumbling black and white film" and is a good direction to go in after his Disintegration Loops series.



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user ratings (41)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Neoteric
June 16th 2008



3243 Comments


lol bored

Neoteric
June 16th 2008



3243 Comments


i've reached 100 reviews like 4 times

Aficionado
June 16th 2008



1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol sup hypocrite

SHOOTME
June 16th 2008



2393 Comments


h4ap0p0y


Zebra
Moderator
June 17th 2008



2647 Comments


I haven't heard this one but every series in the "Disintegration Loops" rules.

Mendigo
June 17th 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well, I was baffled by The Disintegrations Loops. I still don't know whether it's genius or useless shit, it's just so confusing. Haven't heard this one but I imagine it to be similar to the loops.

Neoteric
June 17th 2008



3243 Comments


it's different

Mendigo
June 17th 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well, so maybe I'm going to get it. but I think I still have to get over the Disintegration Loops first ;)

Angmar
June 18th 2008



2689 Comments


but I feel his music speaks on way more many levels than Current 93's music ever will


That's an awfully big statement :p guess I should look into this.

Ire
July 11th 2010



41746 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ugh i hate you bitchfork

Paracletus96
June 26th 2012



306 Comments


Download this where might I

MyWife
June 26th 2012



367 Comments


nah its gd

Ire
August 6th 2012



41746 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

best basinski by far yo

Ire
August 6th 2012



41746 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gaw

opiumtea
February 11th 2013



1 Comments


In case anyone else finds themselves unduly alarmed by this review - William Basinski is not dead. I
was also surprised to see the statement about his work being overshadowed by Current 93; that's surely
not the case as Basinski has only contributed instrumentation to a handful of Current 93 tracks and
isn't considered to be part of the band by any stretch. Was the author perhaps thinking of John
Balance?

Motiv3
July 10th 2013



8901 Comments


this rules.

Digging: Opeth - Pale Communion



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