william basinski - is this the best ambient/drone stuff around or what?

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sorry for the ugly thread title, i just wanted to get people interested who haven't heard any of his stuff, as i hadn't a few weeks ago.

so - disintegration loops. holy fuck! and the other stuff i've heard (the river, a red score in tile) has been amazing too. what's the rest of his stuff like?

toby (tsg20), Wednesday, 21 April 2004 08:03 (fifteen years ago) link

Hmm, I'm still not getting all the hoopla surrounding the Disintegration Loops, whcih I still don;t really know how to handle..

Baaderoni (Fabfunk), Wednesday, 21 April 2004 08:12 (fifteen years ago) link

yea, i posted something about this about a year ago and no one cared. guess music doesnt mean shit til p-fork chimes in.

dddddddd, Wednesday, 21 April 2004 14:48 (fifteen years ago) link

i really like it. wish i could afford the US$70 for the whole set. for the moment, i'll have to make do with part 1.

Sean M (Sean M), Wednesday, 21 April 2004 15:23 (fifteen years ago) link

the disintegration loops set? fe has the 4 cds for $42 total.

tricky disco, Wednesday, 21 April 2004 15:34 (fifteen years ago) link

it's cute. i wouldn't trade my 39 cent copy of "steppenwolf at your birthday party" for his stuff, though.

el sabor de gene (yournullfame), Wednesday, 21 April 2004 15:35 (fifteen years ago) link

i saw him perform the "disintegration loops" live. he sat behind a laptop and queued up mp3s, blending them into one another.

pretty, but i prefer basic channel.

vahid (vahid), Wednesday, 21 April 2004 15:37 (fifteen years ago) link


Expensive loops.

Mark (MarkR), Wednesday, 21 April 2004 16:57 (fifteen years ago) link

So how short are these loops? I was wondering. I really like the idea of this stuff but I don’t really have an idea what it sounds like.

Orange, Wednesday, 21 April 2004 18:01 (fifteen years ago) link

There are some samples at Aquarius Records, Orange.

$42? Who or what is "FE"? $70's the amount that William quoted me in an email. (They sell for $20 each, shipping included on his website.)

Sean M (Sean M), Wednesday, 21 April 2004 18:15 (fifteen years ago) link

"FE" is Forced Exposure, they're selling them for $13 each.

Mark (MarkR), Wednesday, 21 April 2004 18:17 (fifteen years ago) link

excuse my lack of rudimentary multiplication skills!! hey, at least there's no tax if you buy from fe, also, they have a flat shipping price. regardless, it's worth it.

tricky disco, Wednesday, 21 April 2004 18:18 (fifteen years ago) link


tricky disco, Wednesday, 21 April 2004 18:19 (fifteen years ago) link

Mm, nice.

Orange, Wednesday, 21 April 2004 18:51 (fifteen years ago) link

btw, if you like his loop set, you should check out "melancholia." i have everything the guy has made public, and his loop series and melanchollia are the most outstanding of what he has to offer in the ambient/drone area.

dddddddd, Wednesday, 21 April 2004 19:33 (fifteen years ago) link

five months pass...
I've heard 21 minutes of "The Disintegration Loops" Part IV, and my gut answer to the thread title is already "YES". On another thread, Mike Daddino compared the distortion and fuzziness to Gas, which I wholeheartedly agree with -- but Gas has never done anything as serene, as tranquil, or as ENDLESS as this.

I'm listening to mp3's, but I'd have to think that the loss of fidelity, particularly for the more distorted parts, is significant for music like this (even though these mp3's were recorded at a VBR). Do I need to find the CD's to experience this properly?

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Tuesday, 21 September 2004 19:56 (fifteen years ago) link

Incredible stuff. It's like #19 from SAW II on a never-ending loop. Or 777's "Fay Deau Deau". Ad infinitum. Man, this shit just goes on forever.

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Wednesday, 22 September 2004 02:26 (fifteen years ago) link

three months pass...
Revive. After only having heard The Disintergration Loops" (which I loved dearly), decided to check out "Variations: A Movement in Chrome Primitive". Really beautiful stuff, it's the supreme non-activity music for me, and makes me totally worthless. I just completely zone out. Music created for lethargy.

Jeff-PTTL (Jeff), Wednesday, 19 January 2005 03:32 (fifteen years ago) link

the thread title is arguably accurate. best stuff i've heard next to philip jeck's longer pieces, keith fullerton whitman, and rafael toral.

rssgnld, Wednesday, 19 January 2005 04:16 (fifteen years ago) link

Really beautiful stuff, it's the supreme non-activity music for me, and makes me totally worthless. I just completely zone out. Music created for lethargy.

this statement perfectly describes my relationship with good ambient music.

rssgfnl, Wednesday, 19 January 2005 04:17 (fifteen years ago) link

I love it! Gas - Pop is still my favorite in this category though, and some of the stuff on kompakt's Pop Ambient comps is drop-whatever-you're-doing beautiful too.

sleep (sleep), Thursday, 20 January 2005 05:05 (fifteen years ago) link

OTM about gas "pop"

i sleep to basinski and gas!

cutty (mcutt), Thursday, 20 January 2005 05:15 (fifteen years ago) link

i've been interested to hear this guy but my friend told me it was boring, can someone describe it to me?

zach farver, Thursday, 20 January 2005 05:35 (fifteen years ago) link

I used them as the soundtrack to reading through the Infinity Gauntlet-War-Crusade trilogy this weekend. It was fun.

D.J. Anderson, Thursday, 20 January 2005 06:26 (fifteen years ago) link

"Pop" is too much like the Kompakt Pop Ambient stuff to be primo ambient/drone material. "Koenigsforst" is the best for that -- stark, lonely, very lo-fi, and the cover looks like something a Black Metal band would do.

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 20 January 2005 07:41 (fifteen years ago) link


cutty (mcutt), Thursday, 20 January 2005 14:11 (fifteen years ago) link

deathprod solo is definitely comparable to basinski, but not as magical sounding and not varied enough, MOSTD. supersilent have yet to put out a truly good record.

rssgl, Thursday, 20 January 2005 17:43 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...
i'm not sure about this, here seems to be something fake about the whole enterprise. the end result is somewhat dull and the 9/11 links seem both extremely strained and too obvious.

jed_ (jed), Thursday, 20 April 2006 19:57 (thirteen years ago) link

Basinski's heart is in the right place, from the conversations I've had with him; despite the pseudo-intellectual marketing smokescreen that he gleefully buys into, he's quite humble about his work, which makes it more appealing even when the platitudes get a bit heavy.

That said, I don't think he's the best out there, but it depends on what you want out of your drones - I think Phill Niblock and Steve Reich (Four Organs in particular) have done more powerful/arresting work, but I do enjoy Basinski's stuff lots.

Myke. (Myke Weiskopf), Thursday, 20 April 2006 23:07 (thirteen years ago) link

fans schould check out Andrew Chalk. especially The River That Flows into the Sands

rizzx, Friday, 21 April 2006 09:49 (thirteen years ago) link

one year passes...

From everything I've heard of WB, he's a one-trick pony. But I sure do luv that one trick. Listening to Shortwavemusic now, and it's great.

libcrypt, Tuesday, 22 May 2007 04:02 (twelve years ago) link

i still haven't heard/acquired disintegration loops

river wolf, Tuesday, 22 May 2007 04:32 (twelve years ago) link

Also very good. I wonder if there's any truth the rumor that Madonna is a fan.

libcrypt, Tuesday, 22 May 2007 05:23 (twelve years ago) link

I wouldn't be surprised, she's kind of a dilettante.

Is drone the opposite of Beethoven or what? I mean, it's the antithesis of structure, of arc. It's the anti-arc! Does that make sense? Sorry, I'm kind of a dilettante.

Rich Smörgasbord, Tuesday, 22 May 2007 06:30 (twelve years ago) link

Disintegration Loops = one of the greatest recordings of the century. Seriously. river wolf, make it the next thing you buy, man!

Manalishi, Tuesday, 22 May 2007 07:17 (twelve years ago) link

over-rated. Alva Novo's "Xerrox" does the sma ething better and in a more interesting way.

baaderonixx, Tuesday, 22 May 2007 10:02 (twelve years ago) link

Wait, this is Billy Basinski aka Z-man?

Whoa, small world. He adopted/produced my first band in NYC. I've got to hear this, I bet it's incredible.

Masonic Boom, Tuesday, 22 May 2007 10:17 (twelve years ago) link

Maybe Masonna is a fan, and someone thought there was a typo.

libcrypt, Tuesday, 22 May 2007 15:35 (twelve years ago) link

I also really love the "River" double CD, I think Raster-Noton put it out. But it's all good.

sleeve, Tuesday, 22 May 2007 22:56 (twelve years ago) link

which disintegration loops vol. is best? i'm about to give the first one a go

am0n, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 03:23 (twelve years ago) link

i wish he would record under "Z-Man"

circa1916, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 07:15 (twelve years ago) link

am0n, having only heard vols I & II I'd recommend the latter. Its "DLP3" is really haunting/captivating.

willem, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 07:30 (twelve years ago) link

i got all four. loving them. the second track on II is the shit, the comment upthread about SAW II #19 on repeat is apt

am0n, Monday, 28 May 2007 22:37 (twelve years ago) link

that would be loop 3. bliss.

willem, Tuesday, 29 May 2007 08:56 (twelve years ago) link

I suppose non-drone music is anthropomorphic, in that it has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Rich Smörgasbord, Tuesday, 29 May 2007 09:32 (twelve years ago) link

one month passes...

who among us is enjoying El Camino Real?

Tape loop, recorded live, Los Angeles, July 2006.
First 300 copies came numbered and signed.

Want (and want to have been there)

jergïns, Sunday, 15 July 2007 00:37 (twelve years ago) link

Yeah I could totally fall asleep listening to this.

ledge, Sunday, 15 July 2007 16:21 (twelve years ago) link

(I gave up on falling asleep to The Disintegration Loops 'cause they're a bit too melancholic.)

ledge, Sunday, 15 July 2007 16:27 (twelve years ago) link


am0n, Thursday, 26 July 2007 00:56 (twelve years ago) link


Drooone, Thursday, 26 July 2007 01:39 (twelve years ago) link

Not that I'm saying that buying from Norman et al in the UK is an inherently 'better' choice, just that there may be more to consider than pure pricing.

NWOFHM! Overlord (krakow), Tuesday, 14 August 2012 11:47 (seven years ago) link

I hear you. But those additional charges won't get close to £125. I'm expecting then to be in the region of £50.

Also, the boxes still have to come from the US to get to Norman Records... Though they'll obviously be part of a larger, safer shipment.

I sold my unplayed Warp 20 boxset to fund this one, so you're mostly just reading me convincing myself that I've made the right decision to order direct...

Barnaby, Hardly, Tuesday, 14 August 2012 12:02 (seven years ago) link

Absolutely - the main thing is to enjoy it!

NWOFHM! Overlord (krakow), Tuesday, 14 August 2012 12:19 (seven years ago) link

"I hear you. But those additional charges won't get close to £125. I'm expecting then to be in the region of £50."

Recently bought the Can box from US Amazon 'cos with that price even in the likely event I got hit with the extortionate fees & tax, it was still going to work out at pretty much the same price as UK Amazon.

Wandering Boy Poet, Tuesday, 14 August 2012 13:13 (seven years ago) link

three months pass...

gr8 editing npr

"an old pile of old recordings"

"he keep the loops running"

am0n, Friday, 16 November 2012 20:15 (seven years ago) link

was listed in boomkat newsletter today, £299, free postage.


koogs, Saturday, 17 November 2012 00:41 (seven years ago) link

the frustrating thing, about being a record store that wanted to stock this, was that i placed a pre-order with a distributor. so it arrives and i'm trying to figure out what to price the damn thing at so that it's reasonably competitive, only to find that you can buy it direct from the label as a consumer for less than i paid for it wholesale. which is.. frustrating, wanting to be a retailed who carries something cool like this, but also being in a position where it's almost impossible to be competitive w/r/t pricing. meaning... i probably don't sell these things.

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Saturday, 17 November 2012 00:53 (seven years ago) link

one month passes...

Just been listening to Radiolab's podcast (http://www.radiolab.org/2011/oct/04/) where they talk about the disintegration loops and interview WB himself. There's a little discussion about the relationship between the sounds on the tapes and the way in which the tape degrades; the decay parts of the chords decay first, the attack parts last. Do any of you have any idea why this might be?

neilasimpson, Wednesday, 19 December 2012 13:07 (seven years ago) link

i was just listening to that episode the other day! it's a great one. the only thing i could think of is that perhaps it has to do with the direction that the tape was looping. imagine a surface with a series of bumps. if you repeatedly ran your hand from right to left over the bumps, the bumps on the right might wear down faster than the ones on the left. maybe it's similar with the tape - with the attack on the left and the decay on the right.

dexpresso (Z S), Wednesday, 19 December 2012 13:54 (seven years ago) link

in other personal listening relationship to william basinski news, i love disintegration loops, but i think i love melancholia and 92982 even more. what a guy!

dexpresso (Z S), Wednesday, 19 December 2012 13:55 (seven years ago) link

four months pass...

new Basinski:


koogs, Thursday, 16 May 2013 19:24 (six years ago) link


the europan nikon is here (grauschleier), Friday, 17 May 2013 15:38 (six years ago) link

four months pass...
three months pass...

Roughly a dozen Basinski albums just showed up on Spotify--more or less his entire discography *except* for Disintegration Loops. http://open.spotify.com/artist/6u5axd0rpDsWSmzhFfb2VB

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Sunday, 2 February 2014 18:07 (six years ago) link

good spot, thank you -- i feel like the (unexpanded) loops used to be on there but i don't know if i trust that

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Sunday, 2 February 2014 21:03 (six years ago) link

yeah thanks - I have an "orphaned artists" playlist for ones like Basinski where the only things on Spotify were by accident as part of some other comp or soundtrack (i.e La Monte Young, Zoviet France, etc) - now I can take Basinski off that list.

sleeve, Monday, 3 February 2014 16:09 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

I think this tweet was the highlight of the Oscars for me.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Monday, 3 March 2014 06:43 (six years ago) link


death and darkness and other night kinda shit (crüt), Monday, 3 March 2014 06:43 (six years ago) link

is he producing new music these days? seems like the only things i've seen him release the past few years are reissues and reworkings of older pieces.

Daniel, Esq 2, Wednesday, 12 March 2014 02:09 (six years ago) link

he's on bbc6 freak zone this week talking about stuff. probably these upcoming gigs.


koogs, Wednesday, 12 March 2014 09:23 (six years ago) link

(which start tonight)

koogs, Wednesday, 12 March 2014 09:24 (six years ago) link

five months pass...

Performing in Pasadena next month: http://axsfestival.org/2014/program/solunaris/

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Tuesday, 26 August 2014 11:33 (five years ago) link

seven months pass...

only really knowing basinski as the disintegration loops guy, this is somewhat surprising to see


cis-het shitlord (Merdeyeux), Tuesday, 14 April 2015 14:42 (four years ago) link

i had a heavy phase with this guy years ago, i even got to do an amazing phone interview with him once...but for some reason, for the past year or so, i just haven't been able to get the same feeling out of his music. i still let it run when a track comes up in my sleep or writing playlist, and it's nice, but i don't know...i have some kind of mental blockage with it now. re: ambient, this also happened for me with stars of the lid, though eno, budd, gas, and ambient vangelis are still fine...

soyrev, Tuesday, 14 April 2015 15:46 (four years ago) link

three months pass...

<3 this:


feargal czukay (NickB), Tuesday, 4 August 2015 17:10 (four years ago) link

^ looking very debonair as usual btw, like some sort of parisian gangster mountie

feargal czukay (NickB), Tuesday, 4 August 2015 17:11 (four years ago) link

five months pass...

I'm going to try and use disintegration loops to get my toddler to go to sleep at night. Max Richter and Eluvium have failed. I'm counting on you William.

Jeff, Tuesday, 5 January 2016 14:33 (four years ago) link

Should work like a charm. Some weeks last year during a distressing period my girlfriend used 92982 with great success.

the european nikon is here (grauschleier), Tuesday, 5 January 2016 15:03 (four years ago) link

seven months pass...
three months pass...

First great news of 2017: new album! http://p4k.in/1GqqFRZ

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 7 December 2016 20:41 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

Looking forward to listening to this Friday.

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Thursday, 19 January 2017 01:43 (three years ago) link

Actually, check that. At work, at least during the inauguration, I'll have my Disintegration Loops playing in the background.

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Thursday, 19 January 2017 01:45 (three years ago) link

If U.S.A is still a thing when I get up on Saturday, I'll check the new one out...

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Thursday, 19 January 2017 01:47 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Next month in Pasadena William Basinski is being honored at a benefit for Fulcrum Arts, and he and Lawrence English will perform their new Selva Oscura live for the first time.

Fulcrum (with which I’m involved) supports a lot of amazing artists including sound artists and experimental music. They’ll be presenting a new piece by Lawrence English later this year, for instance, also in LA.


sctttnnnt (pgwp), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 15:43 (one year ago) link

tonight in manchester was wonderful - and efficient! took to stage at 9pm sharp with nothing more than a laptop. 40 meditative minutes - no encore. and so down to earth for a chat afterwards!

meaulnes, Wednesday, 24 October 2018 23:08 (one year ago) link

The first version of the 'bored nightclub girl' meme I saw was a disintegration loops based one. That probably says more about me than anything else.

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Thursday, 25 October 2018 08:24 (one year ago) link

five months pass...

An entertaining short interview here.


brain (krakow), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:45 (eleven months ago) link

Ha, thanks for that. The new record is vintage stuff btw.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 14:02 (eleven months ago) link

I somehow didn't know or had forgotten about his 9/11 beliefs.

In terms of his music, I'm quite out of the loop.

brain (krakow), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 15:31 (eleven months ago) link

eleven months pass...

And now for something completely different


brechtian social distancing (Simon H.), Saturday, 21 March 2020 21:40 (two weeks ago) link

… so he's been waiting for an apocalypse?

kraudive, Saturday, 21 March 2020 21:43 (two weeks ago) link

I rather like this! It's not nearly as apocalyptic once you're halfway through, bordering on hopeful towards the end.

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 22 March 2020 15:25 (two weeks ago) link

kind of shocking to hear his voice! just getting started

Karl Malone, Sunday, 22 March 2020 15:30 (two weeks ago) link

I know right?! There's a hint of Michael Hutchence in there, which fits with it being recorded 30 years ago. Would like to hear what you make of it once you've listened all the way through.

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 22 March 2020 15:52 (two weeks ago) link

tbh i don't see myself returning to it too often, but there are some really compelling tracks! probably unsurprisingly, i think i favor the songs with slower, sparser arrangements. in some ways it reminds me of dead can dance's Spleen and Ideal (referencing that particular one because it's the DCD album i'm most familiar with since it's the only LP of theirs i own so far)

Karl Malone, Sunday, 22 March 2020 17:23 (two weeks ago) link

"because", "the great warriors", and "the chemistry of life" were the ones that stood out to me on first listen

Karl Malone, Sunday, 22 March 2020 17:25 (two weeks ago) link

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