WILLIAM BASINSKI
Variations for Piano & Tape

[2062, MMLXII.com]

Like a shrouded veil of water, William Basinski's latest tape composition is a murky endeavour.  With a faint piano melody that returns in an endless loop, the sounds reverberate in a listener's ear for infinity.  Basinski knew exactly what he was doing.  This is what he said about the piece: "Comprised of one 44 minute track, Variation #9 'Pantelleria,' this archival release is one of my all-time favorites of the piano and tape variations from the early eighties.  Using a lilting piano melody on a small loop, the requisite magic happened in the recording process when this particular loop would randomly slip along the play head revealing an extraordinary counterpoint (in reverse) on the other side of the tape."  Various mutations of the same few piano strokes are played, while the listener gets a hint at what's happening on the other side of the tape.  Like an echo chamber, you can hear minute sounds of the same piano loop through this thin, invisible wall.  Bleeding of the tape is the most fascinating thing on record here. It allows the light to shine through to the other side.  Sure, the tape has been mutated and sure, it's not clean, but so what.  This is where the ultimate beauty lies in Basinski's music.  Lullaby music or sounds to examine with a microscope.  Reverberating and forever calming, this is another very satisfying piece from the dusty wards of Basinski's loft.

- Tom Sekowski


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