Delving deeper than most, William Basinski returns with the elegant sadness of his new album, A Shadow In Time.
Constructed from his signature swirling, endlessly ambient tape loops, A Shadow In Time is possibly the most affecting work he has composed since the first chapter of the Disintegration Loops slowly weaved its way into our collective psyche.
Composed of two extended pieces, A Shadow In Time opens with a heartbreakingly pure tribute to the late David Bowie. Said to be built with re-purposed tape fragments that had been chewed up by a former roommate's cat, quoted by Basinski as “this big, fat motherf***er,”. Using its full title of 'A Shadow In Time... For David Robert Jones', Basinski performed strikingly meditative (even for a William Basinski gig!) extended versions of the album, following a commissioned performance at LA gallery Volume in the immediate weeks following Bowie's passing last January.
For David Robert Jones' slowly unravels itself with richly formed layers of choral angelic vocals before a lone saxophone drifts into the mix echoing Bowie's vastly considered creative peak of 1977's Low. Pulling influence from the second half of Low (notably the bowing out of Subterraneans) Basinski crafts an aching melancholy that at once echoes this period strongly, yet sounds even further away than the long winter nights of 1975 in which Bowie recorded Subterraneans.
Moving further afield, the album's second half moves more into the direction of his acclaimed 2001 album Watermusic, using the same Voyetra 8 as that recording, A Shadow In Time blends a misty glaze over his endlessly forming sounds, creating an increasingly immersive yet startlingly raw blend of metallic ambience that long after the recording ends, continues like the very best work of William Basinski - to stay rooted in your mind for hours to follow.