My favorite thing about watching documentaries is that you always learn something new. I had never heard of William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops before watching the documentary. I was not aware of its existence until now and its importance to many people. I was listening to the album while writing this review. I was amazed by the calming and powerful sounds of this album. It was nice to watching the artist Basinski interviews. The documentary, directed by David Wexler, shows how one album can become the soundtrack to a moment in time. The power that music has over us while we are moving thru difficult times and just like the one was experiencing now.
The film was shot during the COVID-19 pandemic most of the interviews seem to have been shot thru Zoom. Which work great when you watching in an online festivals. I don’t know if the format would have worked as well in the regular type of festival; but here it works perfectly. As it makes you feel like you’re having a personal conversation with the artist of Disintegration Loops.
This is the story of William Basinski, a Houston, Texas native that from an early childhood was attracted to music. In the late 70s inspired by artist like Brian Eno and Steve Rich he started working on experimental ambient music, using tape loops and old reel-to reel tape decks. In the 80s he moves to New York City that becomes his adopted city to pursuit a music career. In 2001 he works on his masterpiece the disintegration loops. He finishes the album the morning of the 9/11 attacks. He lived in Brooklyn was witness from his home to the entire tragedy. He even captures the attacks from his roof with video and pictures. In a coincidence the album becomes intertwine with this tragic event. The cover of the album is a powerful picture Baskinki capture of the dusk of 9/11 when you see a large plume of smoke in the background. He ended up dedicating the album to the victims of the attack. A year later he is invited to play the album at a memorial of 9/11 attacks and this is where the album gain its fame and connection with the tragedy.
The album itself sounds like something from another world; but familiar. I can’t believe that this sound is coming from faded reel to reel tapes. It sounds like a traveling thru a wormhole. My spirit feels lifted after hearing it. I can understand how people connected to this album after that terrible attacks. It feels like the type music you need to hear while healing.
Basinski is an affable person in his interview. I love his talk about the album and living in New York City. His humbleness with the success of the album, and his amazement of how it war received. We also get the current problems were facing as many artists have been financially hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope he comes out well of the pandemic. Its unfortunate to see New York City going thru another hard time.
If you love music and its power and want to meet an interesting person do not miss Disintegration loop. Just like me you will be enchanted after discovering this work of music. This documentary made me a fan of the album.
This film and many others like it will be showing at the virtual South By Southwest taking place March 16-20th. For more information and to register for the festival, point your browser to www.sxsw.com!