William Basinski
The Disintegration Loops III


5.0
classic

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (103 Reviews)
March 28th, 2012 | 37 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Overburdened with all its connotations. Brilliant by chance.

It seems mad to me that music comprised of simple loops can become a mesmerising celebration of death; let alone that the music to do this would come into existence entirely by accident. The origin story of The Disintegration Loops is one that passed to legend and then to myth, and what must have started as fact now seems buried under romantic hyperbole. The story goes that in the process of converting his old magnetic tapes to digital format, Basinski noticed that his tapes had begun to literally fall apart. For some unknown and morbid reason he allowed it to happen and as he sat there on his roof in Brooklyn on September 10th, 2001, his tapes began to take on a life of their own. The painstakingly beautiful loops composed to echo the endearing qualities of nature began to die. While hard to notice at first, the loops slowly distort and decay until - under a sea of static silence - they draw their final breath.

Exactly why this has such a powerful effect is at first quite puzzling, but soon becomes self-evident. Truth be told, the most powerful thing about The Disintegration Loops is not the music. Instead, it’s what the music can represent to the individual. A track will start akin to a glorious celebration: with slow drum beats underlying a cacophony of swollen synthesisers; a fantastic display of optimistic escapism. Sooner or later, however, a crack - a sharp intrusion of silence - will invade what has so far been a simply tranquil experience. By repetition the crack will spread, and more will join it, until soon the picture in front of you swarms will imperfections and shatters. What is left - the death throws of beauty - offer a perverse contrast with what came before, and the character the music adopts at this point can vary tremendously. “dlp 1.1”, the hour-long epic that introduces The Disintegration Loops, conjures up images of the orchestra that continued to play as the Titanic sank. The horn-led swings are gradually smothered and, although you can still make out the original melody, the momentum and uplifting nature of the loop are slowly sapped away; leaving what can only be described as a hollow, lifeless, utterly disturbing shell. “dlp 4” degrades differently, in that most of the loop sinks under static rather quickly except for about two seconds of tape that stubbornly refuse to quieten. Eventually the whole loop is silent apart from this intense outburst; a startling display of resolution in such a desolate environment.

Further context of this collection’s birth only does it favours. The fairytale surrounding the initial listening of the recording seems hard to believe, but infinitely fitting to all that the album has become; possibly because the event itself developed the previously recorded loops to the grandeur that they hold today. Having the crumbling World Trade Centre as a backdrop to the very first listening of your music destroying itself is not something many people can stake a claim to. Nor is it one that many would want. However, for a collection of albums so entwined with the values of death and loss, there could not be circumstances more suitable. To many, the events of that day are forever linked to the music. To me it’s just another example of how some disintegrating tape can wield equal power to fire and chaos. And I find that astounding.



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user ratings (49)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2012


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Like I wasn't going to review this eventually...

And I know it's for all of them, but I put it under III because it's my favourite.

Also posted here: http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/

And find of the week: http://soundcloud.com/darenkeck/sets/quiet-hillside/

NeutralThunder12
March 28th 2012


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

nice review

album sucks

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2012


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

O.O

*twitch*

NeutralThunder12
March 28th 2012


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

review is great though

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2012


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

If you weren't so tall that you took over the street I'd fight you.

But it's cool, honestly. And thanks.

sifFlammable
March 28th 2012


2741 Comments


heres a question to all of you who listen to basinski:

why is the L/R sound output on disintegration 1 so severely imbalanced?

NeutralThunder12
March 28th 2012


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

hahahahaha glad to know you get the reference

NeutralThunder12
March 28th 2012


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

heres a better question to all of you who listen to basinski:

why would you listen to boring bullshit

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2012


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Try listening to Somnium (Robert Rich) or Daughter of Darkness (Natural Snow Buildings). In comparison
this is really quite short. I know there's an album that goes on for over a month but I can't remember
the name. The file's something of around 500Gb.
-
I never really noticed any huge L/R imbalance. Could it be the version you own?

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2012


10209 Comments


Your reviewing skills are lovely as always, friend

Not sure this is up my alley, but still, nice job

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2012


10209 Comments


ok~*

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2012


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks Omaha.

kount
March 29th 2012


1279 Comments


Try listening to Somnium (Robert Rich) or Daughter of Darkness (Natural Snow Buildings)


will be boring bullshit to him 2

sifFlammable
March 30th 2012


2741 Comments


my version, as well as every version i found on youtube, has L/R imbalances for disintegration loops 1

idk, i just feel weird listening to dis loops 4 before 1

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2012


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"will be boring bullshit to him 2"

I wasn't actually telling him to listen to them...?? Try reading the full comment.

"my version, as well as every version i found on youtube, has L/R imbalances for disintegration loops 1"

Odd. I swear I haven't really heard any huge imbalance. One is slightly louder, but it's kind of cancelled out by the extra details in the other ear.

sifFlammable
March 30th 2012


2741 Comments


w/e, im happy with just listening to vivian & ondine i guess

besides, there are 3 more dis loops that pretty much sound similar to chew on





StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2012


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ye.

Keyblade
January 13th 2013


14886 Comments


byutifuhl

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
February 28th 2013


21967 Comments


I'm not really sure where the enjoyment is to get out of this

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
February 28th 2013


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

beauty of destruction bro



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