William Basinski + Richard Chartier: Untitled 1-3

Seventy-three minutes of hypnotic, time-suspending dronescaping from natural collaborators William Basinski (creator of the four-disc set The Disintegration Loops) and sound artist Richard Chartier. The release is actually a re-issue of an original 2004 set issued by the Japanese imprint SPEKK but the new one includes two new pieces (“untitled 3” and “untitled 3 (reprise)”). Both artists work with recent material but also resurrect elements dating as far back as the ‘80s (“untitled 2,” for example, incorporates Basinski tape loops from 1981 and 2001), but the stylistic nature of the resultant material is such that it transcends any decades-based association.

In the calming “untitled 1” (which incorporates elements created by Basinksi using the Voyetra 8 synthesizer), drawn-out hoots and whistles suggestive of forest birds and animals intermittently rise to the reverberating surface of long streaming tones. Of the four pieces, the thirty-five minute second pulls the listener into its orbit to the most irrevocable degree. Glistening tones hover suspendedly for moments on end, creating dense lattices of placidity, and the piece asserts itself as an entire universe of glacial microsound activity. The third, Basinski-mixed piece, a heaving mass of ringing crackle and thrum, is more extroverted by comparison and consequently imposes itself more forcefully while the Chartier-mixed fourth unfurls like a slow-motion coda of hazy ebb and flow. Though his name has been associated with material so quiet it verges on inaudible, no strain is needed to witness the slow metamorphoses occurring in this track nor in any of the other equally immersive settings.

May 2008