William Basinski
Lamentations


4.0
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
November 15th, 2020 | 19 replies


Release Date: 11/13/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A night at a haunted opera house...

William Basinski can teach us a class of how to find sonic beauty in decaying elements and thrills in endless repetition. The ambient music master uses tape loops and sound manipulation to extract specific, mesmerizing sounds you could listen to forever. Of course, being an introspective, often abstract process, the results can be more hypnotizing for the author rather than the public. Nevertheless, when the man strikes gold, the whole experience simply entrances you. Some of his most famous works rely on cutting short pieces of old tapes to create a foundation for him to work his magic on. This gives an ephemeral touch to the projects, as he's catching a certain sequence before completely fading away. As expected, degradation is part of the charm. His latest collection, Lamentations maintains the same mindset, however, it consists of multiple shorter affairs. Ultimately, it is a more dynamic and diverse journey than usual.

To me, the entire LP could be the music provided by an old gramophone playing loud in a derelict setting such as an empty, defunct theater. The hall echo and reverb, combined with a “once grandiose now dashed” production are very compelling. Setting a dark tone right from the beginning, ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ introduces a haunting, almost industrial vibe. Meanwhile, the orchestral touches on ‘Paradise Lost’ & ‘The Wheel of Fortune’ toy with lighter yet nostalgic moods. Still, after the glitchy, low key ‘Tear Vial’, things slowly take another somber turn. Central pieces, ‘O, My Daughter, O, My Sorrow’ and ‘All These Too, I, I Love’ insert operatic vocal loops over eerie sound scapes. The results are an uncanny mix of old and new with a hallucinatory effect on you. Between them, there is a string of rather harrowing numbers, significantly intensifying the experience. ‘Punch and Judy’, ‘Silent Spring’ and ‘Transfiguration’ all boast agonizing droning segments making you feel as if transposed into a burial chamber at night. Towards the end, ‘Please, This *** Has Got to Stop’ brings you back for a final act, before curtain fall. The entire journey is akin to a delusive dream, but one that is so vivid. Thankfully, Lamentations keeps you on your toes for its expansive, one hour time span. Even after multiple listens, the layers keep unfolding. William Basinski delivered one of his finest records by choosing to fragment his creative flow and explore dark ambient territories.




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user ratings (41)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2020


5308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A lovely, haunting record. One of the best he did in a long time.



Stream here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNE6ToemlT4&list=OLAK5uy_m2KPb3zChXRobpMlcWt6I9B5LeCalPHFM

Digging: Front Line Assembly - Mechanical Soul

Bedex
November 15th 2020


2518 Comments


Basinski review featured > happy Bedex

Review makes this sound appealing I must check it out soon

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2020


918 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this is excellent. Nice review.

Digging: Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks

normaloctagon
November 15th 2020


3671 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

new basinski?!?!?!?!?! excellent rev I like this raul character, first causa sui now this

Digging: Madvillain - Madvillainy

Psilocybentity
November 16th 2020


28 Comments


Not the worst Metallica cover

Celsius
November 16th 2020


618 Comments


What a pretty title "Silent Spring"

Gyromania
November 16th 2020


31350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is good af

Digging: Biosphere - Dropsonde [Reissue]

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
November 16th 2020


6283 Comments


sounds cool, might give a listen

Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - The Helm Of Sorrow

ChoccyPhilly
November 16th 2020


13083 Comments


Interesting, I'l give it a shot

Digging: Ancient Mastery - Chapter One...

CaptainDooRight
November 16th 2020


4352 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

love this

deathschool
November 16th 2020


27086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. Gotta check this out.

Digging: Madvillain - Madvillainy

Gyromania
November 17th 2020


31350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

BUMP

po0ty
November 17th 2020


632 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good soundtrack for 2020

MiguelAngel
November 17th 2020


82 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

nice

Digging: Danny Clay - Ocean Park

Zig
November 17th 2020


2279 Comments


pretty good


All These Too just perfect

OmairSh
November 20th 2020


17368 Comments


gotta check

Digging: Estas Tonne - Internal Flight

normaloctagon
November 28th 2020


3671 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

finally got around to checking. it's p good. will dig more as time goes on I'm sure, but basinski has done much better, even outside of his classics

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
December 2nd 2020


22828 Comments


Nice review Raul, this is pretty cool indeed

Digging: Pom Poko - Cheater

deathschool
December 11th 2020


27086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really loving this with a few more listens under my belt. In my top 5 for 2020 so far, though it is a short list.



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