William Basinski - The Deluge - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

William Basinski - The Deluge

by Hayden Harman Rating:7 Release Date:2015-08-21

At the turn of the century, William Basinski launched himself to the forefront of the ambient and avant-garde classical worlds with the release of the still excellent The Disintegration Loops, a series of four albums full of tape decay that happened to be recorded on 9/11. Since then, Basinski has consistently released new music, all generally in the same ambient vein. His newest release, The Deluge, finds Basinski continuing to experiment with the tried-and-true tape loop and delay format while still creating a unique sonic environment that engages the listener.

The Deluge is a vinyl/digital release that takes a simple piano-based composition (released earlier on this year’s CD/digital Cascade) and funnels it through a series of feedback loops that gradually add new dimensions to the piece with reverb-laden sonic overtones. These overtones build slowly and then fade over the course of 20 minutes until they arrive at complete silence. The six minute denouement that follows on the B-side is comprised of a Caretaker-esque orchestral sample that swells and accompanies the slightly distorted piano loops. Finishing out the album is an 11-minute excerpt from the original Cascade release.

While the details of the album might not seem particularly new or innovative, the album is an engaging and immersive experience. The Deluge recalls Harold Budd and Brian Eno’s collaborative albums Ambient 2: The Plateaux Mirror and The Pearl, sounding just as cold and detached as the latter. This is the sound of an underwater journey; the sound of slowly becoming submerged by water, the sound of a single event triggering an endless echo that reverberates across waves and time (vaguely similar in theme to The Sinking of the Titanic). In short, it’s another solid release from a master of the genre.

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