William Basinski + Lawrence English | Selva Oscura
Temporary Residence (LP/DL)
Two new lengthy tracks on wax by a pair of the most gifted sound-based artists of our era, William Basinski + Lawrence English. Opening with Mono No Aware, a fluted drone permeates the space in soft modified tones. The vibration rises into your head and stays there like a dense fog, and with a title derived from Dante’s Inferno there remains this gestural quote between the divine and the lurid. The works here also are “dedicated to Paul Clipson, a close friend whose work celebrated the wonder that is becoming lost in experiences that lie in excess of our everyday understandings.”
The piece wanders resolute, like an inspired astrologist or microbiologist, looking into worlds beyond the naked eye. It’s a fluid harmony, untethered to a man-made map or formula, instead this was recorded respectively in Brisbane and Los Angeles and fused together. While it’s not quite Basinski’s ethereal Cascade (2015) or English’s intensely inventive Transit (2005), it manages to become a slight hybrid of those previous trajectories, and without counterpoint, morph into a synergistic internal work of eerie beauty. It takes you far from the forced sense of the everyday.
On the title piece, Selva Oscura, there’s far more sound separation that causes a finely warped blur of duplicate tones. The listener is floating in space at just barely sustained FPS, and ones Earthly cares are tucked into the minds recesses for twenty minutes. This trippy and sublime cosmic warm blanket offers just the right amount of meager effects in the mix. The physical equivalent of floating on a raft (donning headphones) in a climate of warm and cool breezes, rocking your R.E.M. gently into submission. The ever-so-slight percussion, nomadic, hovering somewhere in the background. And the reverb pulses in gentle, blunt circular formations – and then recycles itself with a stippled effect. Are we at sea, above or below the surface? The setting is shifting, like the climate.