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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

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Friday 06 July 2007

New William Basinski

The latest William Basinski CD has landed -- yay! I'll let the boomkat folk explain why I'm so excited:

Background information is typically scant with this latest release from William Basinski's 2062 label, but what we do know is that it features re-discovered tape loops that have been delicately re-crafted for a recent performance at the Montalvo Arts Center. Clocking in at just under 50 minutes, El Camino Real is another one of those breathtaking aural tapestries that Basinski seems to have such an intuitive feel for - effortlessly piecing together elements that bring to mind everything from Arvo Part through to the Cocteau Twins without ever letting go of his own signature sound. Because the source material for these loops has been de-graded and layered so heavily, it's hard to imagine where they could have come from or how they could have been made - all that we're left with are mesmerising remnants of a ghostly female voice dominating the undulating mix to almost harrowing effect. There's also something about this recording that brings to mind more recent contemporary musical experimentations, and in particular the work of Liz Harris under the Grouper moniker - its the same archetypal shoegaze aesthetic that dominates this extended piece and it has a similarly overwhelming effect on the senses : lulling you into a deep state of drift before reminding you that behind the velvety wall of sound lies an uncertain, complex world. El Camino Real is certainly one of Basinski's most absorbing pieces and, for us at least, offers the most contemporary re-interpretation of his own archive recordings to date. We just can't imagine anyone not being overwhelmed by this music - take a listen and sink in while you can.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Omens, after Alexander Pushkin

I rode to meet you: dreams
like living beings swarmed around me
and the moon on my right side
followed me, burning.

I rode back: everything changed.
My soul in love was sad
and the moon on my left side
trailed me without hope.

To such endless impressions
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-- Louise Gluck
Averno (Carcanet Press)

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