A review written by James Roberts. Follow him on Instagram here.
It’s near impossible to talk about Basinski without mentioning his four-album epic ‘The Disintegration Loops’ (2002-2003); a staple that has made him a household name in the Ambient Community. Basinski has been often regarded as the producer for the sound of death and decay; if you are vaguely familiar with his work you will recognise his sound.
In this new release, Basinski returns to his roots in experimenting with old tapes of his, some of which dating all the way back to 1979 (roughly close to the time of the pioneering of Ambient music). What makes this release different to the rest of Basinski’s work is his use of the human voice in this album, in his past discography he has used vocals for his compositions very little. However this record is packed full of vocals to create it’s ambience, described in the liner notes as ‘operatic tragedy transformed into abyssal beauty’.
The use of twelve tracks also makes this record quite different as many of his albums have often had between one and six tracks (with exception of Melancholia (2003)). It’s important to note that despite having dates almost as old as ambient music itself, this record is much more modern in a sense being very dark and intense. It’s low tones and wide dimensions feel incredibly dystopian and the lack of a consistent rhythm makes the entire experience very confusing in an entirely beneficial way; you will question where you are when you hear this, where are we going and how did we get here? At times you can hear the noise and crackles in the tape recordings, in a typical production this would be cut, but Basinski sees art in the decay, it’s inclusion in this record helps the soundscape feel incredibly isolated.
Music like this is a very acquired taste, however it wouldn’t be called avant-garde if it didn’t turn a few heads. Some may not even like to consider this music, however when it moves a particular individual, how can it not be considered art?
‘Lamentations’ is available on most digital music stores and streaming services, physical editions are
available via Basinski’s Bandcamp page or visit https://www.mmlxii.com/