A Shadow in Time review
09 10

William Basinski A Shadow in Time 2062 / Temporary Residence


William Basinski and his manipulations of decaying tape loops have been referenced alongside Jacques Derrida’s concept of hauntology – best described by Colin Davis as “the figure of the ghost as that which is neither present, nor absent, neither dead nor alive.” Like the melancholic re-imaginations of the past explored in the work of The Caretaker and Brian Eno, Basinski has the ability to transport you into introspective and hypnotic states, stirring questions of our own mortality.

It’s been fifteen years since Basinski released Disintegration Loops, the mesmerising music which was created in the shadow of 9/11. Utilising sorrow as an almighty muse once again, with For David Robert Jones – the second of this release’s two lengthy tracks – Basinski presents a forlorn and hopelessly bittersweet eulogy for David Bowie. Using an old Voyetra 8 synthesizer and bits of tape that were chewed up by his flatmate’s cat, Basinski pulls you deep inside a world of shapeless memories accented by both beauty and decay.

A Shadow In Time opens with a faint but foreboding drone. Metallic noise slices into the dense and warbling atmosphere. Glacial in its movement and austere in its beauty, there is a brooding dissonance that gradually wanes, giving way to shimmering harmonies that moan and stretch until their own drowsy death. For David Robert Jones emerges from the murky depths of a bank of lost memories, provoking hazy visions of a life as seen through a rearview mirror. As much as there is light and a sense of being reborn, its gentle cascade also hints at a life turning to dust in the darkness. With restrained repetition, Basinski’s work reminds us that life is a series of perpetual cycles. For David Robert Jones, however, is the blanket over the inevitable end.