William Basinski [ Houston, 1958 ] a New York-based classically-trained clarinetist and saxophonist, specializes in compositions for loops and drones. He began experimenting with compositions for piano and tape that created a melancholy ambience via looped and overdubbed melodies with Variations -
A Movement in Chrome Primitive (1980), released on Variations - A Movement in Chrome Primitive (Durtro, 2002 - Die Stadt, 2004), and A Red Score in Tile (1979), released on A Red Score in Tile (3 Poplars, 2003). Shortwave Music (1982), some of which appear on Shortwave Music (Noton, 1998), processed and assembled snippets of radio broadcasts to produce atmospheres at the border between musique concrete and ambient music. The River (1983), collected on the double-disc The River (Noton, december 2002), was the most mature expression of “shortwave music”.
Melancholia (Durtro, 2003 - 2062, 2005) collects more loop-based vignettes from the 1980s, closer in feeling and scope to Erik Satie and Brian Eno. During the 1980s, Basinski often played saxophone during multimedia performances, and was a member of the Gretchen Langheld Ensemble, which later evolved into House Afire.
In 1989 he opened his own loft for the creative arts, nicknamed “Arcadia”. Throughout the 1990s he refined his song-cycle Hymns of Oblivion. In 1997, Basinski launched his performance-art act Beautifying America. He also formed the electronic ensemble Life on Mars. Basinski has also created videos and films, notably the “ambient film” Fountain (2000).
Orellana is a neo-classical/post-rock collective hailing from Bristol, UK. Their new album “52”, released in late December, brought in the new year with it’s explosive and intricate sound. The project’s music transcends genre definitions in order to focus on a broad, diverse concept that is more emotional than tangible. This particular release is full of rich and diverse arrangements, but it is also a powerful exercise in minimalism, one that showcases the strength of very few notes placed in the right spots. The simplicity of the arrangement is actually one of the strongest aspects of this entire release: there’s a palpable stillness created by the long, drone notes in the background, which almost makes you feel like the world is happening in slow motion. When the chords and notes change, it feels quite monumental due to the beautiful contrast between the stillness of the background textures and the expressive sound of the guitar-based melodies.
Davenport Rex is a music project based in Detroit, Michigan. Their sound is diverse and challenging, yet accessible and appealing. The band’s music stands out as a combination of tasteful progressive rock, with shades of various influences, ranging from alternative to symphonic hard rock, just to mention a few.