William Basinski - Melancholia
William Basinski - Water Music
William Basinski - Water Music II

[2062 Music, www.mmlxii.com]

Like a soft fog over a murky ocean surface, William Basinski's music has the same capacity to drift and stand still and then slowly drift again. It is as if his notion of time was skewed. It's as if time didn't really matter. His new works are all equally exciting and each one breathes with new fervour.

'Melancholia' is an odd project. As far as I can tell, this is the first time William has favoured a short form compositional style, as opposed to the more sprawling pieces he's known for. Delicate, precise layered loops make for listening that is equally melodic [in its own odd sense] and contemplative. Calling this music ambient would be a disservice. Too much happens in the span of the disc's length for the listener to drift off into space. Introspective music this may be but William's compositions are tightly packed and give listeners enough reason to celebrate the music without falling into state of despair or depression. Tiny hints of piano bounce from the water and the music continues to simply stand still. Superlatives are not enough. Simply put, what we have in 'Melancholia' is a reflection of the human condition.

Unlike 'Melancholia', 'Water Music' is a long piece, spread out over 2 separate discs. About 2 hours in length, here William Basinski captivates his audience with a simple idea. Composed in whole on a Voyetra synthesizer, the hour long track stretches into eternity. Slowly moving humming sounds, delicate, softly expressed notions and intricate layers of sound. Some have compared these sounds to Eno's early ambient works, which I think is rather unfair. Sure, this is minimal music at its finest, but unlike Eno, William's concept here is even more minimal. This is minimalism at its' most extreme. You'd swear you can hear ferries docking in a harbour and little water droplets falling on the waves of the ocean. Then again, I also hear calls of birds and light winds caressing the ocean surface. Some will call this a modern day lullaby, others will say it's new age music, while others still will claim it's modern composition [which is a fact in itself]. It doesn't matter what background you're from and what notion you may hold, this is music for your imagination and it takes you somewhere else on a journey far far away. If you're ready to go on that trip, let 'Water Music' be your guide. Don't be scared to take the plunge. Dive right in.

Tom Sekowski

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