Review Summary: Sparse, sinister loops that seem to shift when they think you're not looking.Biqui
has, in all likelihood, been the introductory soundtrack to my oneiric episodes maybe 7 or 8 times in the past fortnight, since a recent change of schedule has meant I have to sleep a lot earlier than I am accustomed to lately. I'm not quite sure what it is about the album that keeps drawing me to it – since its release in March last year (2018 if you stumble across this at a later point) I've put this on while writing, making train journeys, idling away the duller work lunchtimes and, recently, as a sleeping agent. At its core, all Biqui
is are a collection of loops – sparse ones at that, at most comprising of a piano part, swells of cold, enveloping ambience, and maybe the odd bit of electroacoustic jiggery-pokery for colour. These loops aren't left to their own inevitable self-destruction as Basinski would have it, nor are they the vehicle for a dark, depressive narrative as explored by The Caretaker over the past 3 years or so. They just seem to... exist. Some of them, such as those heard on Untitled
are little more than ghostly pads; others are more tangible, but living in their own hazy murk like a memory one is desperately struggling to clarify.
I suppose, I wasn't sure what it was that kept drawing me to it until recently. But now, I think I'm starting to get it a little.
has become one of those little games that your mind plays when it's bored. Fractional dynamic shifts are the main driving agent of loops that are sometimes extended over eight-, approaching nine-minute time-frames. These movements aren't necessarily across entire phrases, but sometimes only on a note or two – Untitled 2
's piano loop ends on a note that will sometimes feel definite and final, and sometimes inexplicably soft. At least, that's the perception, but this leads to doubt – it makes no sense for the loop to do that, after all. Doubt is further seeded in other ways. For example, you'll be a few minutes into a loop that you've felt yourself get comfortable with, when you start wondering if those notes, already passed but kept momentarily alive by a withering delay, were even there previously – Untitled 7's
loop, offsetting each note's decay slightly, does this unsettlingly well.
Being entirely honest, I still don't know why I've opted for this one to go to sleep to. The low undercurrent of ambience swathing each loop - and for that matter the melodies of the loops themselves - are infinitely more sinister than what could be created with a more fully-fleshed sound. The possible presence of minute variations occupies that part of the brain that tells you to move a little bit faster when you're walking down a lit hallway and there's a dark room behind you with a half-open door. But it's these mutations – whether they even exist or not – that make me return to this again and again. The mystery of their existence enthrals me. I'm sure, with an afternoon spent cutting Biqui
up in Audacity I could determine for sure whether everything I think I'm hearing is actually going on, but I have absolutely no desire to. It'd be like conducting a full-scale, comprehensive study of Loch Ness to determine if there is something living in there – sure we could know
, but that not knowing
, in a world where less and less is unknown, is a beautiful thing.