William Basinski at Henie Onstad

Together with Henie Onstad Kunstsenter nyMusikk presented William Basinski in concert and Q&A at HOK 5 May.

William Basinski (b. 1958) is a classically trained clarinetist and saxophonist, and avant-garde composer from Texas, now living in LA. He could have chosen to be part of an orchestra or philharmonic, but had David Bowie as a major role model.

In 1978, after hearing Brian Eno and Steve Reich, he began experimenting with piano and tape compositions - with tape loops and drones. Not sure if these would be of interest to anyone other than himself, he kept all the recordings for himself. In the 80s he settled in Brooklyn and lived as a freelance musician, including a tour with David Bowie himself. In the 90s he started the club Arcadia, that offered thirsty artists cheap beverage in lavish surroundings. The place had luminous sculptures of blown glass and a wall constructed of transistor radios constantly playing white noise in the background. At Arcadia Basinski took a production role and helped Anthony Hegarty (from Anthony & The Johnsons) among others in developing their careers.

The monumental project Disintegration Loops came about accidentally when Basinski in 2011 decided to digitize his old cassette tapes. After a while he found that each tape slowly disintegrated while it was being played, and, as he played these tapes, the terror attacks of 9/11 happened not far from where he sat. The project was later dedicated to the terror victims. Disintegration Loops, which is an intensely melancholic composition which he created with the sound of these disintegrating tapes, were released as four albums from 2002-2003 and re-released as a 9xLP box in 2012.

- Anne Hilde Neset, Artistic Director of nyMusikk

All photos by: Øystein Thorvaldsen, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter.

William Basinski. Foto: Øystein Thorvaldsen, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter.
William Basinski. Foto: Øystein Thorvaldsen, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter.
William Basinski. Foto: Øystein Thorvaldsen, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter.
William Basinski. Foto: Øystein Thorvaldsen, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter.