Wednesday, 10 August 2016

William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops IV (2003)

One of the most wonderful, serendipitous events in loop music and ambient music, William Basinski's Disintegration Loops came about by accident while the New York-based artist was archiving some 20 year old tape loops.  As the ageing tape oxide started flaking to pieces, Basinski seized on the genius idea of making each tape into a long-form piece where the loop would repeat over and over until its ultimate self-destruction.  The six pieces were then given subtle production touches such as highly effective reverb, and were poignantly finished on the morning of 9/11, from which Basinski filmed an hour of video from his balcony to put against the first piece, and stills of which provided the album covers for the eventual four CDs (released 2002-3).

I was originally going to post all four volumes, but decided just to focus on my absolute favourite pieces from the series in this post and the next one. Dlp 6, the track that dominates this CD, was the first Basinski piece I discovered one melancholy night on YouTube searching for ambient solace - it's remained my favourite.  This final loop in the series actually disintegrates the least out of all of them over its 40 minutes, and also sounds the most (relatively!) upbeat and somewhat hopeful and redemptive as it washes over you again and again.  The Disintegration Loops Vol. IV CD is filled out with a couple of shorter verisons of the first (and on Vol I, longest) of the loops.

Speaking of YouTube, I couldn't post this album without giving credit to the video in question where I first discovered Basinski - and it's an essential watch; I seriously consider this one of the most genius YouTube videos of all time, and possibly the greatest ever, most perfectly apt fan-created music video.  Link is below - and yep, it is just 40 minutes of dawn breaking over Guadalajara, Mexico.  Enjoy!


  1. Talk about serendipity: I was going through my music TODAY and realized this was the only DL volume I didn't have. Partly on account of the backstory, and partly on account of the music itself, it's hard for me to listen to this stuff very often, but when I do it's always an emotional experience. Thanks again.

    1. ah, Basinski, you old serendipity-causer...

      I have not-dissimilar feelings about this one Bill (and the whole suite) - it's not something I put in regular rotation, but when I feel the need for it, and can devote the right stretch of time & attention to it, it's peerless stuff.

  2. Thank you so much - had these but lost them - So good to hear again

  3. thank you thank you!! found on YT years ago, never quite made the conscious decision to find more. Bless ya!!!