By Alec Warkentin
The ambient work of avant-garde composer William Basinski is one of the rare examples of great creation coming from the twilight of inevitable decay.
Perhaps best known for his series The Disintegration Loops, a collection of four albums made from deteriorating tapes of his previous work, Basinski’s multi-decade career has been mired in the idea of the meditative power of looped soundscapes. On A Shadow In Time, his latest release, he revisits the lonesome, subaqueous atmosphere that his best compositions have encapsulated.
Consisting of two 20-ish minute long tracks, A Shadow In Time plumbs the familiar depths of many ambient themes: the passing of time and a mood of omnipresent foreboding.
“For David Robert Jones,” — a eulogy for the late David Bowie — features a heavily layered expression of leaving, complete with undulating waves of sound, while the title track opens with an almost crystalline fragility and swelling drone, before tailing off into an immaculate spattering of piano.
A Shadow In Time isn’t so much a two-track compilation as it is an experience, and one that makes as substantial a place as any for one to jump off into the void of Basinski.A Shadow In Time, William Basinski