September 11, 2011 1:22 PM   Subscribe

HappeningRightNow-Filter: New York's Wordless Music Orchestra is premiering an orchestral arrangement of William Basinki's Disintegration Loops live from The Temple Of Dendur. Stream here.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas (16 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
In a sane society, the video shot by Basinski from his rooftop would be sufficient stimulus for group grieving.
posted by williampratt at 2:35 PM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Are they ripping apart their instruments over time?
posted by mkb at 2:46 PM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Disintegration Loops, about how everything great will decay and deteriorate. A fitting piece to describe post-911 America.
posted by hypertekst at 2:49 PM on September 11, 2011

I'm looking forward to listening to the archive of this when it becomes available. It'll be interesting to see how the composer dealt with adapting a piece achieved largely through mechanical/random processes for live performers. Did he write out specific music to simulate the sound produced by the decaying loops, did he write out the music using some form of chance operations to simulate the process by which the loops decayed, or is there some form of random process incorporated into the performance itself so that the exact process of decay is up to the performers? Or some combination?
It reminds me a bit of Bang on a Can's version of Music for Airports, which I enjoy more than the original but which I also thought could have been more daring in its interpretation.
posted by williampratt at 3:05 PM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Perfect. Thank you.
posted by schyler523 at 3:42 PM on September 11, 2011

We were just at the Met... lines were crazy for this, we couldn't get in.
posted by kimdog at 3:52 PM on September 11, 2011

Thanks for the link - I wasn't able to listen to it live, but it's archived there now. Also, Helga Davis is my all time favorite radio host.
posted by moonmilk at 6:05 PM on September 11, 2011

OH MAH GAH. Thank you.
posted by azarbayejani at 6:24 PM on September 11, 2011

Was there. In the orchestra. Performed it. I don't see why we didn't just play the tape piece over loudspeakers. It was nice but quite "safe". Good size crowd. Long silence at the end, very touching. As an event, very powerful and meaningful, as an arrangement it was a nice try. The composition itself, that is, the original tape loop, was an accidental piece of nothingness that really has no meaning except what one attaches to it, like most pieces of music. Only problem is the piece contains about 6 seconds of actual music. It just repeats for over an hour.
posted by ReeMonster at 8:23 PM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

Are they ripping apart their instruments over time?

I think it'd be great to have a small army of people with vegetable peelers, slowly removing layers from each instrument as the musicians play...
posted by Theta States at 7:08 AM on September 12, 2011

There's an ensemble for that.
posted by mkb at 8:26 AM on September 12, 2011

ReeMonster - Thanks for the performance, and your thoughts. Having just had a chance to listen to it, I agree with you that it was "nice but quite safe." I also thought the silence at the end was moving - I wish the announcers had held off on making their comments until after the applause was over. I disagree though that the piece only contains 6 seconds of actual music - the overall process of disintegration, the emerging drone, along with the sounds outside of the actual loop means that there is a full hour of actual music, not just a six second loop repeated over and over again. It's still on the minimalist end of things, but I personally dig that kind of thing.
posted by williampratt at 1:38 PM on September 12, 2011

Incredibly moving performance. I've re-listened several times today.

I took the liberty to grab the NPR mp3, delete the commentary, split the tracks and add a bit of meta data. Download link here.
posted by erebora at 8:16 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks erebora! williampratt, perhaps I was being too cheeky because yeah, the tape piece DOES change quite a bit over its running time. Still I don't feel it's an amazing feat to do what he did, especially after meeting the guy and seeing how he behaved at the concert. He is a really egotistical show off describes his own music as wonderfully beautiful, pastoral, sweeping, etc.. not much humility. The way he took his bows after we played seemed very arrogant to me, and he barely acknowledged the man who took that tape piece and actually arranged it for live musicians to play. When faced with someone like that, my reaction is more like, "How can you think you're so special when all you did was loop this tape until it rotted away?" And then his relating it to 9/11 seemed very cloying to me.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:48 PM on September 12, 2011

ReeMonster - That's a bummer about Basinski, but I'm not terribly surprised. You've got to be at least a little egotistical to be watching New York City burn and think "my music would be the perfect accompaniment for this historical event."
I like some of his non-Disintegration Loops material but it's nothing amazing. I wonder if he just got a bit lucky with the loops. Still, at least he was perceptive to realize what he had come across.
posted by williampratt at 5:38 AM on September 13, 2011

That's shitty to hear about his attitude. And yes, he kind of got lucky with his loops. He has a lot of output that's really just 'meh'. His best results seem to be when he collaborates: either with Richard Chartier, Christoph Heemann, entropy itself, or someone who knows how to score his pieces...
posted by Theta States at 6:14 AM on September 13, 2011

« Older Math for Art Students   |   Speak the speech I pray you as I pronounced it to... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments