William Basinski performing live at the Empty Bottle in 2005.
|Born||1958 (age 58–59)|
|Origin||New York City|
|Genres||Experimental, ambient, tape, process|
|Labels||Raster-Noton, 2062 Records, Temporary Residence Limited, Spekk, Durtro, Die Stadt, Line|
|Associated acts||Richard Chartier|
William Basinski was born in 1958 in Houston, Texas. A classically trained clarinetist, he studied jazz saxophone and composition at North Texas State University in the late 1970s. In 1978, inspired by minimalists such as Steve Reich and Brian Eno, he began developing his own vocabulary using tape loops and old reel-to-reel tape decks. He developed his meditative, melancholy style experimenting with short looped melodies played against themselves creating feedback loops.
His first release was Shortwavemusic. Although created in 1983, it was first released on vinyl in a small edition in 1998 by Carsten Nicolai's Raster-Noton label. This was followed by Watermusic, self-released in 2000 on Basinski's 2062 Records. Another 2-disc work was Variations: A Movement in Chrome Primitive, 1980: it was finally released in 2004 by David Tibet on the Durtro/Die Stadt label. At the time this work was created, Basinski was experimenting with compositions for piano and tape loops.
Throughout the 1980s, Basinski created a vast archive of experimental works using tape loop and delay systems, found sounds, and shortwave radio static. He was a member of many bands including Gretchen Langheld Ensemble and House Afire. In 1989, he opened his own performance space, "Arcadia" at 118 N. 11th Street. In the 1990s, he performed and produced records and intimate underground shows there for various NYC artists including Antony, Diamanda Galás, Rasputina, The Murmurs, and his own ad-hoc experimental electronic/improvisation band, Life on Mars. In 2000, he made a film titled Fountain with artists James Elaine and Roger Justice.
In August and September 2001, he set to work on what would become his most recognizable piece, the four-volume album The Disintegration Loops. The recordings were based on old tape loops which had degraded in quality. While attempting to salvage the recordings in a digital format, the tapes slowly crumbled and left a timestamp history of their demise.
- Shortwavemusic (1998, Raster-Noton)
- Watermusic (2000, 2062 Records)
- The Disintegration Loops (2002, 2062 Records)
- The River (2002, Raster-Noton)
- The Disintegration Loops II (2003, 2062 Records)
- Watermusic II (2003, 2062 Records)
- Melancholia (2003, 2062 Records)
- The Disintegration Loops III (2003, 2062 Records)
- A Red Score in Tile (2003, Three Poplars)
- The Disintegration Loops IV (2003, 2062 Records)
- Variations: A Movement in Chrome Primitive (2004, Durtro/Die Stadt)
- Untitled (2004, Spekk) (with Richard Chartier)
- Silent Night (2004, 2062 Records)
- The Garden of Brokenness (2006, 2062 Records)
- Variations for Piano and Tape (2006, 2062 Records)
- El Camino Real (2007, 2062 Records)
- 92982 (2009, 2062 Records)
- Vivian & Ondine (2009, 2062 Records)
- Aurora Liminalis (2013, Line) (with Richard Chartier)
- Nocturnes (2013, 2062 Records)
- Cascade (2015, 2062 Records)
- The Deluge (2015, 2062 Records)
- Divertissement (2015, Important Records) (with Richard Chartier)
- A Shadow in Time (2017, 2062 Records)
- The Disintegration Loops (2012, Temporary Residence Limited)
- Lester, Paul (11 October 2010). "New band of the day – No 884: William Basinski". The Guardian.
- Medwin, Marc (1 October 2012). "William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops". Dusted Magazine.
- Catalano, Nicola (2004). "William Basinski + Richard Chartier interview". spekk. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- "William Basinski". Flaunt. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- Tangari, Joe (8 April 2004). "The Disintegration Loops I-IV - Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- Simmons, Ian. "The Disintegration Loops - Review". nthposition. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- Mason, James. "Disintegration Loops 3 - Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- Levaux, Christophe (2014). "William Basinski, The Disintegration Loops. De l’érosion de l’espace sonore. L’antithèse totaliste". Revue et corrigée (101): 24–27.