Get a Taste of Sonic Genius William Basinski’s Stunning New Albums

William Basinski, Music

Photo credit: Peter J. Kierzkowski

There are few sensations I love more than hearing a piece of music that truly awakens your senses. Your body pricks up and feels alive in places you barely knew existed, igniting a powerful force that opens you up in new and wonderful ways. And from the moment I heard the stunning sonic landscapes of avant-garde composer William Basinski, my musical affinities were forever changed. I gravitated towards sounds that would lead me down such deep emotional paths as his and look to his work as a comfort and pleasure time and time again. His tape loop masterpieces live, breathe, and disintegrate before our eyes, creating an eternal cycle of sound.

To see him live is a wholly immerse and beautiful experience, and one I’ve been lucky to have multiple times in the last year. And after performing a piece titled “Cascade” at Issue Project Room last spring, Basinski will now be releasing a pair of albums, Cascade and The Deluge, “inspired by his latest tape loop composition.” After seeing him perform the piece, I noted that although the entirety of Cascade’s 40-minute piano loop was a totally hypnotic and absorbing experience, “the last ten minutes of his set were truly incredible. The room came alive as the music emanating from speakers sounded like something wafting from the wallpaper through the corridors through an old dance hall.” Alongside Cascade, listeners will get a free download of The Deluge, “which finds the same composition run through several feedback filters live at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn before blooming into an full orchestral finale.”

Basinski’s new work will be released on April 28, courtesy of the always great Temporary Residence and Baskinski’s 2062 Records. In the meantime, bask in excepts from the work HERE, as well as the trailer for Cascade below. Plus, check out our interviews with Basinski HERE and HERE.

 

The Reissue of William Basinski’s ‘Melancholia’ Is On Its Way

This year marks the ten year anniversary of William Baskinski’s astoundingly beautiful and haunting Melancholia. And to celebrate the past decade, Temporary Residence will be reissuing the record on vinyl for the first time. As one of Basinski’s best pieces of music, you’ll now be able to enjoy the wonder of his work with accompanying new art by artist James Elaine. As we’ve noted in the past:

In the cyclical nature of existence, eventually everything decays and dies. Even the most beautiful of artifacts begin to decompose and wither. But inside that atrophy, something else is born and therein lives an eternal moment. It’s not only a death rattle but the space between time, a place lingering forever that collects in the particles that live and perish. And for decades now, master of entrancing sound, William Basinski has been creating sonic worlds that inhabit this ineffable eternal moment.

His music lives inside the words you can’t gather, the feelings that rest between your bones, and the quiet that possess you in the night. As delicate and utterly stunning as it is harrowing and skin-tingling, to listen to Basinski’s work is a sensory and emotional experience. His melancholic loops drone on and on, floating through you and capturing you in the essence of a place beyond articulation. The sounds wrest on your chest like heartbreak but fill you with a elation so wonderful that it consumes you and you never want it to stop.

So yes, with only 2,000 limited edition copies, this is certainly something you’re going to want to get your hands on. Melancholia’s re-issue is available for pre-order over at Temporary Residence HERE. So take a listen to the stunning “Melancholia II” below, or see our wonder 3 Minute video series between Basinski and Marina Abramovic HERE.

Marina Abramović and William Basinski Inhabit an Eternal Moment (Part III)

As fearless and ferociously talented as she is seductive and passionate, iconic performance artist Marina Abramović has spent more than forty years challenging herself and engaging audiences with her work. As a pioneer of performance art, she has created some of the most vital early works of the movement, putting her mind and body at the forefront as the medium, and offering herself to her audience no matter the danger. When we spoke to Abramović back in 2012 for the release ofThe Artist is Present—a documentary chronicling her seminal performance exhibition at MoMA—she told us:

I don’t have any personal life so it was not complicated, everything is public and all my work is available to everybody. I show all aspects of myself—fragile, strange, dramatic, kitschy, whatever. And I think being vulnerable, the public can also project their own vulnerability into my persona, which makes them closer to me and I’m closer to them.

And as her most personal work to date, Robert Wilson’s viscerally and visually stunning The Life and Death of Marina Abramović (now onstage at the Park Avenue Armory), re-imagines her remarkable life—from the tortured Yugoslavian childhood of her past and her decades of work as a performance artist to her love affairs and what the future will inevitably bring. Starring Abramović as both herself and her mother, she performs alongside an incredibly athletic Willem Dafoe and bellowing Antony Hegarty. Amalgamating music, theater, sound, design, physical performance, and visual art, the “quasi-opera” encompasses all facets of performance, bringing the audience on a fragmented and abstract immersion into the emotional and psychological landscape of the artist’s extraordinary life.

From the early beginnings of her career, Abramović has used her body as a vehicle for expression—and Wilson’s show, in which she gave him complete freedom to tell her story, is no exception. With her art, she creates a unique dialogue between herself and audience, asking the public to watch as she tests the mental and physical limitations of the human body. She solicits the viewer to participate in the experience, creating a conversation and critique of social norms and boundaries of everyday actions and interactions. Having been raised in former Yugoslavia to militant parents, her childhood was imbued with an incredible sense of discipline and structure which has fueled her abilities as an artist, but also created an extreme emotional distance that has created a deep yearning to love and be loved. And in that great expression of physicality in her work, she manipulates our conception of time, slowing down the clock to embody the notion of time’s illusion to inhabit an eternal moment.

And if there’s any other artist whose work echoes that temporal element, it’s avant-garde electronic composer and master of brilliant sound William Basinski—who collaborated with Wilson, Abramović, and Hegarty to create the powerful music forThe Life and Death of Marina Abramović. As one of the most fascinating composers in the world, he too has been perfecting his craft for decades now. After being greatly inspired by Brian Eno’s melancholic Music for Airports and the work of Steve Reich, Basinski began experimenting, investigating just how far he could go with the tape loops that have now gone on to garner him both the acclaim and following that has been slowly building for over twenty years. His immersive soundscapes drone on and on, shifting your consciousness—stripping bare the artifice of time and allowing you to inhabit that eternal moment. From his early work to The Disintegration Loops and now his work with Abramović, his music lives in an ineffable realm that’s as delicate as it is harrowing and extremely powerful in its absolute beauty—especially heard here upon the stage.

“In the concerts, I usually do one long set because the whole point is to try and get out of this body and this worry and this nonsense and just take a little vacation, fall in. And forty minutes can go by and it feels like five, so that’s the ideal situation. It’s like meditation, you have some relief, you sort of go back into the womb,” he once told me. And although having never met previously to the collaborative experience of the show, Abramović have fallen into a natural simpatico, both in their work and personally.

Now one of the most revered and legendary artists—with a show that immortalizes her career— Abramović took some time while getting her stage makeup done to talk to her dear friend Basinski to discuss the physical and mental limits of expression, inhabiting an eternal moment, and the state of the art world today through their seasoned eyes.

Check back here for Part III of Marina and William’s conversation tomorrow.

Marina Abramović and William Basinski Inhabit an Eternal Moment (Part II)

As fearless and ferociously talented as she is seductive and passionate, iconic performance artist Marina Abramović has spent more than forty years challenging herself and engaging audiences with her work. As a pioneer of performance art, she has created some of the most vital early works of the movement, putting her mind and body at the forefront as the medium, and offering herself to her audience no matter the danger. When we spoke to Abramović back in 2012 for the release ofThe Artist is Present—a documentary chronicling her seminal performance exhibition at MoMA—she told us:

I don’t have any personal life so it was not complicated, everything is public and all my work is available to everybody. I show all aspects of myself—fragile, strange, dramatic, kitschy, whatever. And I think being vulnerable, the public can also project their own vulnerability into my persona, which makes them closer to me and I’m closer to them.

And as her most personal work to date, Robert Wilson’s viscerally and visually stunning The Life and Death of Marina Abramović (now onstage at the Park Avenue Armory), re-imagines her remarkable life—from the tortured Yugoslavian childhood of her past and her decades of work as a performance artist to her love affairs and what the future will inevitably bring. Starring Abramović as both herself and her mother, she performs alongside an incredibly athletic Willem Dafoe and bellowing Antony Hegarty. Amalgamating music, theater, sound, design, physical performance, and visual art, the “quasi-opera” encompasses all facets of performance, bringing the audience on a fragmented and abstract immersion into the emotional and psychological landscape of the artist’s extraordinary life.

From the early beginnings of her career, Abramović has used her body as a vehicle for expression—and Wilson’s show, in which she gave him complete freedom to tell her story, is no exception. With her art, she creates a unique dialogue between herself and audience, asking the public to watch as she tests the mental and physical limitations of the human body. She solicits the viewer to participate in the experience, creating a conversation and critique of social norms and boundaries of everyday actions and interactions. Having been raised in former Yugoslavia to militant parents, her childhood was imbued with an incredible sense of discipline and structure which has fueled her abilities as an artist, but also created an extreme emotional distance that has created a deep yearning to love and be loved. And in that great expression of physicality in her work, she manipulates our conception of time, slowing down the clock to embody the notion of time’s illusion to inhabit an eternal moment.

And if there’s any other artist whose work echoes that temporal element, it’s avant-garde electronic composer and master of brilliant sound William Basinski—who collaborated with Wilson, Abramović, and Hegarty to create the powerful music forThe Life and Death of Marina Abramović. As one of the most fascinating composers in the world, he too has been perfecting his craft for decades now. After being greatly inspired by Brian Eno’s melancholic Music for Airports and the work of Steve Reich, Basinski began experimenting, investigating just how far he could go with the tape loops that have now gone on to garner him both the acclaim and following that has been slowly building for over twenty years. His immersive soundscapes drone on and on, shifting your consciousness—stripping bare the artifice of time and allowing you to inhabit that eternal moment. From his early work to The Disintegration Loops and now his work with Abramović, his music lives in an ineffable realm that’s as delicate as it is harrowing and extremely powerful in its absolute beauty—especially heard here upon the stage.

“In the concerts, I usually do one long set because the whole point is to try and get out of this body and this worry and this nonsense and just take a little vacation, fall in. And forty minutes can go by and it feels like five, so that’s the ideal situation. It’s like meditation, you have some relief, you sort of go back into the womb,” he once told me. And although having never met previously to the collaborative experience of the show, Abramović have fallen into a natural simpatico, both in their work and personally.

Now one of the most revered and legendary artists—with a show that immortalizes her career— Abramović took some time while getting her stage makeup done to talk to her dear friend Basinski to discuss the physical and mental limits of expression, inhabiting an eternal moment, and the state of the art world today through their seasoned eyes.

Check back here for Part III of Marina and William’s conversation tomorrow.

BlackBook’s Super Fabulous Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season has officially begun and what better way to get into the spirit than buying gifts for those you love—and let’s be honest, a few for yourself. So to make your shopping a little easier, from now until the end of the month we’ll be sharing with you our curated list of picks for the best gifts this season. Check back here daily, peruse our selections, and enjoy!

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Bionda Castana x Vassilisa Heels

Shoes and jewels are undoubtedly the first things on my Want list, whether it’s near the holidays or not. Bionda Castana is giving that wanting feeling an extra nudge toward her Daphne heels, a product of a collaboration with Vassilisa, better known for their sumptuous silk scarves. The chain print silk shoes bring the jewelry and heels together with this limited-edition collaboration. $747 on biondacastana.comByredoHolidayCandles

Byredo Holiday Candles

We’ve had a hard time keeping our noses out of these candles since they arrived on our desks, specifically Byredo’s Bibliothèque, which smells like the ultimate book and leather filled private enclave, with just a hint of fruit (in a bowl on the side table, of course). Though Byredo’s packaging is pretty fantastic anyway, the limited-edition holiday glasses lend  a serving of chic minimalism to whichever nightstand, coffee table, or stack of books they’re placed.

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William Basinski’s “The Disintegration Loops” Box Set
For over twenty years now, avant-garde electronic composer William Basinski has been creating stunning sonic worlds that awaken our senses and transport us into another world. His highly-acclaimed and celebrated release The Disintegration Loops lives as one of our most beloved pieces of music, as well as one of the most stunning works ever recorded on tape. His melancholic loops drone on and on,  floating through you and capturing you in the essence of a place beyond articulation. And now, after the 10 year anniversary of The Disintegration Loops you can purchase the massive limited-edition box set that includes: four historic volumes, previously unreleased live orchestral performances from the Met and the 54th Venice Biennale (both pressed onto vinyl), remastered recordings on five CDs, and a 148-page full-color coffee table book with rare photos and liner notes by Basinski, Antony, and David Tibet—to name a few. $80.00 temporaryresidence.com

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The Criterion Collection’s Dual Format DVD/Blu-Ray Frances Ha
Last May, we all fell helplessly in love with Noah Baumbach’s intensely charming new feature Frances Ha. Co-written with the film’s brilliant and versatile star Greta Gerwig, the film is a wonderful ode to cinema of days past—as Gerwig’s emotionally intelligent, witty, and thoughtful touch elevate Baumbach’s filmmaking to new heights. Its anachronistic feel is not only played out in its black-and-white aesthetic, but in its sense of hopefulness as we bear witness to a 28-year-old modern dancer, unsure what to make of her life. And thanks to the Criterion Collection you can get a special edition of the film that features: a conversation between filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and Baumbach, a new conversation between actor and filmmaker Sarah Polley and Gerwig, , one Blu-ray and one DVD, a booklet featuring an essay by playwright Annie Baker—and more. $31.96 criterion.com

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Le Poisson Rouge Classic Fish Membership

When it comes to venues in New York City, there’s certainly no shortage of places to enjoy live music. But for us, there’s no finer spot than the dark spaces of Le Poisson Rouge. As a multimedia art cabaret founded by musicians, the space offers a wonderful mix of popular and art cultures—featuring events in music, theater, dance, and fine art. So whether you’re enjoying their house orchestra playing with such acclaimed artists as Nico Muhly and Max Richer, reveling in one of their weekly dance parties, or perusing their gallery space, you could fill out our entire month’s itinerary simply from their jam-packed calendar. And with their Classic Fish Membership you can enjoy a number of perks, including: free admission for yourself and a guest to LPR Member Shows, 20% discount on party packages, a “members table” reserved for the use of members and their guests before all seated events, front-of-line access for you and your guests to LPR late-night events, and more.
$300 lepoissonrouge.com

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Bruce Weber: The Film Collection – 1987-2008

A legend of both photography and film, Bruce Weber has been stunning us for decades now. An icon known for his evocative fashion photos and fascinating films, his work has become ingrained in our cultural landscape, his images seen everywhere from the pages of Vogue and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum to Paris’ Museum of Modern Art and our most coveted cinema screens. And if you missed Film Foroum’s recent retrospective of his film oeuvre, never fear: the The Bruce Weber Film Collection Box Set has you covered. The four-disc box set includes: his most celebrated documentaries (Let’s Get Lost, A Letter to True, Chop Suey, and Broken Noses),  a 32-page collectible booklet of Weber’s photography, and Weber’s literary and art journal series, All-American Volume 13 Born Ready. Before purchasing, you can also check out our wonderful interview with Weber HERE.
$47.07 barnesandnoble.com 

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Nirvana “Nevermind” (20th Anniversary Remastered 180g) 4LP

We all remember where we were (and who we were) when we first heard “Smells like Teen Spirit” or “Come As You Are,” “Lithium,” or “Drain You”—the songs that would go on to become not only brilliant hits but landmarks of a time in cultural history. And if it seems like forever ago, it has been. Now, over two decades since Nirvana released their album Nevermind—the landmark record that solidified their iconic status, Universal has put out a massive box set to commemorate the anniversary of the band that burst and bloomed right before our eyes and change the shape of music forever. The set is a 4 x LP collection that includes: the remastered version of the original album, takes from The Smart Studio Sessions, The Boombox Rehearsals, and many never before releases BBC Sessions.
$79.99 turntablelab.com 

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The Row Carryall

Traveling brings the best out of my closet and the worst out of my personality, at least when packing. I have a feeling all those problems would melt away with the addition of this gorgeous navy carryall from The Row – possibly the most decadent and at the same time minimal bag you’ll find. Perfect for throwing in a weekend’s light essentials, or to be carried about town upon arrival, this is one of those gifts that if it found its way to me, my sartorial heart would be the giver’s forever. $2850 at Neiman Marcus.

Spiaggia_Ombre_Azure_Blue_Indv 

Spiaggia Sand-Repellant Beach Towel

For some lucky travelers on holiday, Christmas and New Years means heading to the beach, and what better gift to give than a beautiful and practical beach towel? Oversized towels are wonderful for staking an oversized plot of sand – but this towel from Kassatex has something extra – a sand resistant back face perfect for easily shaking away any wayward granules. $50 www.kassatex.com

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Monique Péan Fossilized Woolly Mammoth 18 ct. Gold Cufflinks 

Cufflinks may seem like the easy answer, but for the man who already has everything (including cufflinks galore) there’s a good chance he doesn’t yet have a pair made of fossilized woolly mammoth tooth root. (Read it again if you have to.) Factor in Monique Péan’s careful 18 carat recycled white gold setting, and you’ve got yourself a very rare, very extinct adornment. $12,330. Available at Jeffrey New York.

Indian Bazaar_LuggageTassels

Indian Bazaar Luggage Tassels 

When traveling, there’s always a nagging thought in my mind – how will I know my bag from the other travelers’, and more importantly, how will they know not to take mine? Tying on ribbons is always an option, but certainly others will have thought of the same. A better option: these beaded luggage tassels from Shop Latitude’s Indian Bazaar, sourced from the bazaars themselves, and more unique and personal than a silk satin bow. It’s the perfect gift for the well-traveled friend. $25 on ShopLatitude.

 

tomford

 

Tom Ford For Men Intensive Purifying Mask

For the man who truly has it all, including a bevy of pocket squares and custom shirts from the likes of Tom Ford, the obvious next step in closet/counter domination would be a line of skincare products from Mr. Ford himself. Enter the discerning designer’s grooming line, FOR MEN, of course, including this mud mask, and out just in time for the holidays. What better way for a man to purify his face than while luxuriating in a Tom Ford world? $60 at Bergdorf Goodman.

sjal

Sjal Saphir Face Oil

If you haven’t delved into the world of face oil yet, Sjal’s sapphire infused concentrate is a good place to start. It’s a luxurious experience, from precious gem-infused start to heavenly smelling finish.  $175 at Barneys.

Leather Care Kit 2

 

Otter Wax Leather Care Kit

For the guy with a closet full of leather shoes and a perfectly patina-ed bag or two. $28, Otterwax.com 

NICOLINO

NICOLINO Satin Cocktail Blazer

What better gift to give – to yourself or someone else – than one that can be worn all holiday season long? $595 at NICOLINO.

cover_ju_hadid_updated_1309041546_id_714104Hadid. Complete Works 1979–2013

If you’re looking to give a gift that’s both aesthetically pleasing and culturally insightful, Taschen’s new Hadid. Complete Works has you covered. As a celebration of iconic and controversial architect Zaha Hadid, the book explores the entirety of her work over the past 30 years, giving us an overview of her radical and futuristic world that has given life to some of the most astounding buildings in the modern world. This massive Taschen tome tracks the evolution of her inspiring career—from her interior design, furniture, and buildings—with in-depth texts, drawings, and photos. $49.99 taschen.com 

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The Crosley Traveler Turntable 

No matter how good modern technology may be, music never sounds better than when played through the crackling sounds of a record player. Whether you’re listening to the classic songs of Otis Redding or the latest hit record, you’re about to feel the music in a totally different way and make the listening experience so much more pleasurable. And this holiday season, spice up your collection with The Crosley Traveler Turntable. Built into the perfect suitcase for being on the road, with the Crosley you can take your favorite tunes with you wherever you travel this season. A favorite amongst those looking to imbue the world with the sounds of the past, the record played is a three speed belt driven turntable, that still includes the modernity of a diamond stylus needle and full range stereo speakers. And if you’ve been eyeing the remastered Nevermind collection (located above) this is certainly the ideal companion.  $129.95 crosleyradio.com

 

14_Wedding Blanket_9141Moroccan Wedding Blanket

‘Tis the season to cozy up – whether you’re fireplace adjacent or desk side daydreaming about a pillow fort – nothing sounds better this time of year than a really great blanket. What’s even better? If it’s beautiful, it’ll look just as great draped over the sofa as it’ll feel draped around your shoulders. $650 on Shop Latitude.

 

Leather Care Kit 2

It’s been a year of re appropriating pearls – from punk-ish at Simone Rocha to bedroom at Thakoon. This iteration from Saskia Diez doesn’t connect on top – giving the ring the feeling of a piercing – and there’s nothing traditional about that.  $650 from Saskia Diez. 

 

 Lillet Blanc

Lillet Apéritif Wine

If you’re looking to add a little glamour to your holiday feast, why not indulge with the Lillet Apéritif? As a pre-dinner tradition that’s been immortalized in the smooth sippings of everyone from Parisian artists to the crème de la crème of society, this delicious treat is such to spice up any fête.  $19.99 lillet.com

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Pacific All Risk Insurance T-Shirt from Extension 765

Although he may be “retired” from making movies, Steven Soderbergh is doing just about everything else. So when not making HBO mini series, writing a Twitter novel, or logging every film, book, and play he ingested over the year, the strange and bizarre genius is selling a series of t-shirts on his site Extension 765 that not only give a nod to films he loves but test your movie trivia. We’re still holding out for one that simply says: Mayonnaise. $38 extension765.com

TataHaper_ResurfacingMask_open2Tata Harper Limited Edition Plum Resurfacing Mask

Whatever 20 minutes you have is usually best spent with a mask, and in my book, none is better than Tata Harper’s resurfacing iteration – it gives you instant glow – and nothing’s better than that. The fact that it’s 100% natural means you can feel even better about slathering it on, or gifting it to someone else to do the same. $55 from Tata Harper.

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Nicholas Kirkwood Black Calf Leather Oxfords

Classic with a white piping twist, these Nicholas Kirkwood oxfords will subtly punch up a look for any man in your life. $850 at Nicholas Kirkwood, 807 Washington Street, New York

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Maison Martin Margiela x Atelier Swarovski Collaboration Brooch

This white resin and crystal fusion ‘Crystalactite’ brooch crosses Swarovski’s dazzling crystals with Margiela’s slightly cheeky braininess to form a standout asymmetrical piece worth holding on to. Perfect for the Margiela lover on your list who could use a little bling this season. $1900 in store.

GLO SOLO

GLO Solo Whitening Kit

Given the weather and the season, everyone around us (myself included) is at an all time intake high on coffee and red wine. We need the caffeine (and the alcohol) but we also need to look our best. That’s where the GLO Solo system comes in – you literally paint on the gel, wait about 30 seconds, and go. Nothing else to it.  $45 at Sephora.

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B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufsen Headphones Sponsored by B&O Play by Bang & Olufsen

Perfect for holiday travel, the B&O Play blocks out all the noise we need blocked out this time of year. And it’ll help you, (or the lucky recipient) look good while doing it. I’d go for that gorgeous agave green. For a chance to win this gift, tweet at us @blackbook and #bbookgiftaway. Tell us why you need ’em. $399 at B&O Play.

AGKvert

Amber, Guinevere & Kate Photographed by Craig McDean

The next best things to inviting your favorite models over for a drink would have to be thumbing through Craig McDean’s photographs of some of his favorites while comfortably nestled into your favorite chair, hot beverage of choice in hand. Any fashion fan would be inclined to agree. $100 from Rizzoli.

 

Fornasetti Profumi - Scented Candle - Silencio reverseFornasetti Profumi Silenzio Scented Candle

Beautiful scents don’t hurt, but cheeky Fornasetti fills any room with a whole lotta’ sass and sparkle.  $165 at Barney’s. 

 

Marina Abramović‎ and William Basinski Inhabit an Eternal Moment

As fearless and ferociously talented as she is seductive and passionate, iconic performance artist Marina Abramović has spent more than forty years challenging herself and engaging audiences with her work. As a pioneer of performance art, she has created some of the most vital early works of the movement, putting her mind and body at the forefront as the medium, and offering herself to her audience no matter the danger. When we spoke to Abramović back in 2012 for the release of The Artist is Present—a documentary chronicling her seminal performance exhibition at MoMA—she told us:

I don’t have any personal life so it was not complicated, everything is public and all my work is available to everybody. I show all aspects of myself—fragile, strange, dramatic, kitschy, whatever. And I think being vulnerable, the public can also project their own vulnerability into my persona, which makes them closer to me and I’m closer to them.

And as her most personal work to date, Robert Wilson’s viscerally and visually stunning The Life and Death of Marina Abramović (now onstage at the Park Avenue Armory), re-imagines her remarkable life—from the tortured Yugoslavian childhood of her past and her decades of work as a performance artist to her love affairs and what the future will inevitably bring. Starring Abramović as both herself and her mother, she performs alongside an incredibly athletic Willem Dafoe and bellowing Antony Hegarty. Amalgamating music, theater, sound, design, physical performance, and visual art, the “quasi-opera” encompasses all facets of performance, bringing the audience on a fragmented and abstract immersion into the emotional and psychological landscape of the artist’s extraordinary life.

From the early beginnings of her career, Abramović has used her body as a vehicle for expression—and Wilson’s show, in which she gave him complete freedom to tell her story, is no exception. With her art, she creates a unique dialogue between herself and audience, asking the public to watch as she tests the mental and physical limitations of the human body. She solicits the viewer to participate in the experience, creating a conversation and critique of social norms and boundaries of everyday actions and interactions. Having been raised in former Yugoslavia to militant parents, her childhood was imbued with an incredible sense of discipline and structure which has fueled her abilities as an artist, but also created an extreme emotional distance that has created a deep yearning to love and be loved. And in that great expression of physicality in her work, she manipulates our conception of time, slowing down the clock to embody the notion of time’s illusion to inhabit an eternal moment.

And if there’s any other artist whose work echoes that temporal element, it’s avant-garde electronic composer and master of brilliant sound William Basinski—who collaborated with Wilson, Abramović, and Hegarty to create the powerful music for The Life and Death of Marina Abramović. As one of the most fascinating composers in the world, he too has been perfecting his craft for decades now. After being greatly inspired by Brian Eno’s melancholic Music for Airports and the work of Steve Reich, Basinski began experimenting, investigating just how far he could go with the tape loops that have now gone on to garner him both the acclaim and following that has been slowly building for over twenty years. His immersive soundscapes drone on and on, shifting your consciousness—stripping bare the artifice of time and allowing you to inhabit that eternal moment. From his early work to The Disintegration Loops and now his work with Abramović, his music lives in an ineffable realm that’s as delicate as it is harrowing and extremely powerful in its absolute beauty—especially heard here upon the stage.

“In the concerts, I usually do one long set because the whole point is to try and get out of this body and this worry and this nonsense and just take a little vacation, fall in. And forty minutes can go by and it feels like five, so that’s the ideal situation. It’s like meditation, you have some relief, you sort of go back into the womb,” he once told me. And although having never met previously to the collaborative experience of the show, Abramović have fallen into a natural simpatico, both in their work and personally.

Now one of the most revered and legendary artists—with a show that immortalizes her career— Abramović took some time while getting her stage makeup done to talk to her dear friend Basinski to discuss the physical and mental limits of expression, inhabiting an eternal moment, and the state of the art world today through their seasoned eyes.

Check back here for Part II of Marina and William’s conversation tomorrow.

The Wonder of William Basinski

In the cyclical nature of existence, eventually everything decays and dies. Even the most beautiful of artifacts begin to decompose and wither. But inside that atrophy, something else is born and therein lives an eternal moment. It’s not only a death rattle but the space between time, a place lingering forever that collects in the particles that live and perish. And for decades now, master of entrancing sound, William Basinski has been creating sonic worlds that inhabit this ineffable eternal moment.

His music lives inside the words you can’t gather, the feelings that rest between your bones, and the quiet that possess you in the night. As delicate and utterly stunning as it is harrowing and skin-tingling, to listen to Basinski’s work is a sensory and emotional experience. His melancholic loops drone on and on, floating through you and capturing you in the essence of a place beyond articulation. The sounds wrest on your chest like heartbreak but fill you with a elation so wonderful that it consumes you and you never want it to stop.

Over the past few years or so, I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know William and luxuriating in his music that’s become like a dear friend—but it wasn’t until this past weekend that I finally got to see him perform his magic live. In honor of ISSUE Project Room’s 10th anniversary, he played a show cast in darkness, and as I’d always imagined, it was truly magical. Opening with Nocturnes—a piano and tape composition—the room went silent as we all floated down in the abyss of his haunting loops. Moving onto the otherworldly sensations of his Variations, the second half of his set was just as gorgeous but not quite as dark, evoking images of the neo-classical painting slowly chipping away with grace. The elasticity of time is never more evident than in his soundscapes, which transport you into a meditative sphere that’s difficult to shake even after the lights go reemerge. But to share the experience and to be shroud in darkness with his sound booming overhead is something that is so essential to the wonder of what he does.

Whether its his beloved Disintegration Loops, his Variations, his Melancholia, or the music he created for The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic—which arrives in New York this December—there’s always a reason to take a moment to close your eyes, sink into a moment, and appreciate the fantastical nature of his music. So after such a marveling performance—whether you’re familiar with his brilliance or not—take a moment to bask through some Basinski. Your mind and heart will feel so much better for it.

d|p 1.1

Vivian & Ondine

Static Nocturne

http://youtu.be/ybe5di9h4ro

Watermusic

http://youtu.be/DQAEkaTkbNg

Melancholia

Nocturnes

http://youtu.be/rRTRq2X9H70

The Garden of Brokenness 

Hymns of Oblivion

Silent Night

El Camino Real

92982.2

10 Perfect Albums for Your Rainy Late Summer Afternoon

When describing the deeply sensory and emotional effects of his music, William Basinski once told me that the sense of timelessness in his work is a way to give yourself some meditation and relief, to fall down into the abyss, using the transportive nature of the sounds created to “go back to the womb.” And when it comes to melancholy, grey days such as today there are few greater pleasures one could dream of than diving back into bed, throwing on some beautiful music, and hiding between the notes. Not quite asleep, not quite awake, but simply existing in feeling as you drift off without a care. But alas, work demands we stay upright and carry on, so to better your day, I thought I’d provide you with some stirring and poetically vacant albums for you to soak up. From the ineffable grace of Baskinski’s Disintegration Loops to Max Richter’s ballet of classical and synthetic sound Infra, here’s to making your day a little more contemplative.

   

 

William Basinski – d|p 1.1

   

 

Brian Eno Ambient 1: Music for Airports 

   

 

Max Richter – Infra

   

 

Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92

   

 

Max Richer – 24 Postcards in Full Colour

   

 

Stars of the Lid – The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid 

   

 

Eluvium – Static Nocturn

   

Loscil – Stases

   

 

Tim Hecker – The Ravendeath 1972

 

 

Watermusic – William Baskinski

William Basinski Discusses Inhabiting an Eternal Moment With ‘Nocturnes’

For decades, William Basinski has been creating music that’s alive, with compositions that are both sonically masterful and emotionally potent. What you’re listening to is not only living and breathing, it’s also dying and decaying. What you’re hearing is the heartbeat between life and what comes after—a meditative and harrowingly beautiful death rattle. His music orbits through that space and lives suspended in that time with a wonder and warmth that pervades his melancholic loops. His notes coil and recoil, sinking you further and further into total absorption as you float out of yourself and into the realm of feeling. Basinski’s hypnotic work lowers you into an abyss in a way that’s sensory and delicate, making you feel as though gravity is of no concern, and your heart floats beside you as time stands still. As his music loops on and on and on, you can almost hear dust collecting and falling like ashes, and it’s too beautiful to imagine the heartbreak of it ever having to end.

After celebrating the 10th anniversary of Basinski’s beloved Disintegration Loops this past September, the musician and composer of experimental and transient sound has released Nocturnes, a two-track album out this June via 2062. Consisting of a 41-minute piano and tape composition from the late 1970s ("Nocturnes")  and a 28-minute loop and delay recording  ("Trail of Tears") from 2009, excerpted in Robert Wilson’s The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, Nocturnes covers you in a blanket of brilliant sounds and otherworldly pleasures in a way that only Basinski’s music can.
 
While I’m an avid fan and admirer, the proper words to articulate Basinski’s work often elude me. And so, having had a wonderful chat with Basinski last summer, I decided to give him a call last week so he could discuss in his own words his metaphysically masterful compositions, bringing his show on the road, and the happy accidents of tape.
 
So you’ve been on quite a European tour. How has that been?
It’s been great. The venues have been incredible and the audiences have been really nice. I was Austria outside of Vienna, then to Oslo, and then from there to Denmark and Portugal, and then to Berlin in the last couple weeks. The sun followed us around and everything was blooming everywhere in Europe—so it was really beautiful.
 
Was there a particular reason you chose to release Nocturnes now?
It was just time. I haven’t released a record in almost five years and I’ve been working on it. When I first made it, it was a piece that was very formally constructed but very badly recorded—the way things should be done. But at the time I only had these primitive tools, and so all of these eight or ten loops were laid out in a certain graphic pattern and then I recorded them to cassette with tape, so that once it was all laid down there was no way to change anything. Unfortunately at the end I got kind of carried away with with one thing that I quickly realized I shouldn’t have put in there—but years later, that can be easily fixed with digital editing. So I worked on it this year. I agonized over it and finally said, yeah let’s do it . And when "Trails of Tears" got paired up with it I thought it worked really nicely. It’s kind of a dark album but sometimes these things need to be done.
 
It absolutely wonderful. The music you makes sounds like nothing else and although most of this was originally created so many years ago it feels so distinctly still of your own sonic world.
Thank you so much. Yeah, the response has been great. I’m real happy about that. You always feel like you’re putting your head in the guillotine but you have to do it.
 
How was working with Bob Wilson on The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic?
The experience of a lifetime—just fantastic. Bob is extraordinary and to sit there in the house and watch him build this show was just an incredible experience. You can’t describe it. He’s a genius, and all the cast—Marina, Willem Dafoe, Antony, and all the supporting cast and the music team and everybody. I’ve never worked in theater before and it’s extraordinary to have this group of 30 or 40 people build something like this and collegially. The internal support everyone gets is wonderful. It’s lots of friends and i love everybody in the cast and can’t wait to go to Toronto next week to put it back together and see it again. The music turned out spectacularly.
 
Did you enjoy creating music for someone’s very specific world outside of your own? 
Oh, it’s just incredible. The way it works, Bob first workshops and I did a lots of research on different music and Balkan church music. Looking at the book they gave us, a lot of the scenes start out during Marina’s childhood so i thought about what would be playing on the radio, what would she be listening to? I made a bunch of stuff and pulled together a lot of stuff. I sat down with Bob and you present him your crayons and he picks the crayons and you pop it in—he likes a full set of crayons. Antony [Hegarty] invited me to help him do this originally and he’s brilliant. He and I are both on this sort of purple/blue end of the crayon range, so we brought in this fantastic Balkan folk singing quartet and added all these other colors, so Bob had his full range of crayons for the sound design. It worked; it’s thrilling for me.
 
With films like, The Comedy, for example, using your music, do you like hearing your music re-appropriated like that and taken out of the specific landscape you built it for?
Well, they licensed the music for that and every little bit helps, but I’d love to do more film work. Maybe for someone like Ang Lee or Wong Kar-wai.
 
Oh, that would be perfect. One of my favorite things about your music is the way in which you play with time. It almost feels like it’s melting and you’re suspended in a moment in the most haunting way.
Yeah, it’s nice to get out of the tick tock every now and then. I like to inhabit an eternal moment. And if you can find the right loops, you can just suspend time and float. So that’s what I like. 
 
With Nocturnes, it was a piece that you created so long ago. Did that force you to look at how you’ve changed as an artist throughout that time?
I still just love working with tape loops. You know Hillary, I got these new little German four-speed tape decks and I can travel with them. They play at slow speeds that I like and so I did a show—the first show of the tour—and then when I got back with all the security sort of banging around the luggage and everything, one of the tape decks of got screwed up and got stuck on one speed too fast. I didn’t have time to find someone to fix it, so I knew I was going to have get in there and copy the loops I was using on this machine to play at the new speed. So I worked on that and ended up with some real interesting accidents. This one loop that ended up on the back iis spectacular, so now I’m using that on tour. So you never know what’s going to happen; I always love when there’s a happy accident.
 
Well with something like tape it’s a living, breathing thing that can decay and have a life that’s subject to change and accidents.
Exactly. And it has that warm sound. Ah, I love it.
 
Where is your ideal environment to perform in?
I’ve been thrilled with the venues this year, they’ve all been different. This first one at Krems—this gorgeous little town an hour from Vienna—It was a hilly, old city with wine growing in the hills and this venue there was an old 14th century decommissioned small cathedral. I love reverberant spaces, so that was great. And in Oslo I played at this beautiful 60s modern contemporary art museum, Henie Onstad Artcentre, and that was terrific. Then in Lisbon I played in a real theater with a stage manager and lighting people and all that stuff, and oh my god it was just wonderful. I miss my beautiful musical space Arcadia in New York but everywhere I go I have a new Arcadia, so it’s interesting.
 
With the 10th anniversary of The Disintegration Loops, I feel like that brought a whole new fervor to your presence as an artist with more and more fans coming out of the woodwork. There’s people who’ve loved you for years but it’s great to keep discovering those who’ve just started to fall in love.
I’m just thrilled. I never thought that I would live to see this happen and it’s happening. It’s like wow, [southern drawl] I died and went to heaven. My fans are adorable and sweet and smart and so devoted. People either get it or they don’t. If they get it, they can’t get enough. So I’m really happy. 
 
When you’re creating your music, do you have to go into a very certain headspace? Because when I listen, I try to be separated from anything that’s going to distract me and just let myself absorb it.
Yes, yes you definitely have to go all in. 
 
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