William Basinski - Shortwavemusic [Auris Apothecary; 2013]
Pleasantries first: Auris Apothecary and Cerberus entered the world the same day in the same year. I consider this no coincidence, for we are all particles connected to one another by hippie bullshit that doesn’t matter in the end because we’re all screwed up. AA transmits that and we report it. And for more than a decade, William Basinski has had to be swallowed by the same damning press all because his masterwork happened to find its completion as the twin towers of the World Trade Center sadly crumbled on the same day. Irony isn’t always fun , but AA’s twisted smirks and Basinski’s fragile compositions can make it so.Shortwavemusic’s latest reissue (of many from the 1982 composition) came in the midst of New Year’s in the guise of a 1/4-inch tape on a 7-inch reel. Without purpose, I hunted eBay to find a working reel-to-reel player for which to listen. I read, I studied, and I coveted. And here it is a pile of tape on the floor after heart and soul has been poured into such a centerpiece. But music isn’t for show, it’s for hearing. But AA does not heed such consequences, for it embraces both (always for the better). They knew what a clumsy but adventurous shell would do armed with 7-inches of reel. I’m sure many have framed and hung theirs by the chimney with care, but I sledgehammered it down to obtain the precious and put it through its paces. And it sounds good–oh so good. I’ve wrapped myself like a mummy in its discards, trying to contemplate where AA begins, Basinski takes over, and Cerberus ends. It all comes out too Donnie Darko for my tastes, so I try to ignore the coincidences. I try to focus on what each of us does and in that, I find solace. Shortwavemusic is an empowering piece, triumphant in a time where shows of aggression or talking loudest win fights. AA and Basinski take no such course. We shall oblige.