Unlike his definitive series of Disintegration Loops, the album-length title track of Nocturnes doesn’t sound like it’s seconds away from turning into a pile of dust. It’s suspended in time instead—unnervingly so, with prepared piano lines rippling through laconic tape loops and long stretches of near-silence. The LP’s other aptly-titled composition, “The Trail of Tears,” was recently excerpted in Robert Wilson’s experimental opera The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic. As you might expect from the parties involved—including Antony Hegarty, Willem Dafoe and a soul-scanning Abramovic—it’s an abstract heart-of-darkness piece, shifting ever so slowly from a funereal groove to a delay-heavy drone. Pretty yet poisonous.
REVIEW: William Basinski, Nocturnes