William Basinski - A Shadow In Time LP
Label: Temporary Residence Ltd.
On A Shadow In Time, William Basinski returns with an homage to David Bowie, eulogized on the lachrymose side-long track "For David Robert Jones" in reference to Bowie's birth name. Still using the tape loop as a principle means of production, Basinski guides the two tracks on this album with the elegance and grace of an artist who has long mastered his craft. The title track is the more striking of the two pieces, with Basinski capturing golden hues and deep-space mesmer from an archaic Voyetra 8 synthesizer. This is a notoriously difficult piece of equipment that has even irked the composer with its grumpy insistence on not bothering to start up one day, only to creakily awaken the next. The twinkling vibrato and Plutonian shiver from Basinski's source material slowly spin in the tumbling orbits of his delay and reverberant tape loops. It's beautiful and languid, making for one of the few Basinski pieces that doesn't relate to the semantics of decay. "For David Robert Jones" focuses on the tape loop as the structural device, lacing several scratchy tape loops against one another. Here, Basinski's work does redress the forgotten dreams and deleted scenes so often recounted in the Caretaker's work with antiquated media through the tropes of lost memory. In a rare instance of jarring the listener, Basinski pops a loop into the foreground of a suitably maudlin saxophone riff. The hypnotic quality of the loop quickly settles this unusual rupture to Basinski's oeuvre, and the whole of the piece drifts once again into stately wistfulness. Sublime as always.