LINE_060 | CD + Digital | 1st edition of 500 (sold out) + 2nd edition of 500 | February 2013
LINE is pleased to announce the upcoming release of the second highly anticipated collaboration from renowned composer William Basinski and sound artist Richard Chartier.
Aurora Liminalis is a rich and nebulous soundtrack, the aural equivalent of undulating trails of light. Disintegrating spatial shifts incorporating the two artists’ distinct sonic palettes mesh to create a slow, deep ebb and flow… like some melting spectral transmission. The work has a distinct complex presence, difficult to resist its pull.
Befitting cover image by visual artist James Elaine.
1 Aurora Liminalis (44:20)
William Basinski (b.1958) is a classically trained musician and composer who has been working in experimental media for over 30 years in NYC and most recently, California. Employing obsolete technology and analogue tape loops, his haunting and melancholy soundscapes explore the temporal nature of life and resound with the reverberations of memory and the mystery of time. His epic, entropic masterpiece, The Disintegration Loops has received international critical acclaim and was chosen as one of the top 50 albums of 2004 by Pitchfork Media, as well as the top re-issue for 2012’s Temporary Residence vinyl box set. Art Forum selected The River, his transcendental 2-disc shortwave music experiment on Raster-Noton, Germany as one of the top ten albums of 2003. Installations and films made in collaboration with artist-filmmaker, James Elaine have been presented in festivals and museums internationally, and his concerts are presented to sold out crowds around the world. Recent collaborations include music for Robert Wilson’s latest opera, The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, Aurora Liminalis with Richard Chartier and a remix of Antony’s Cut The World as well as a new solo album for release in early 2013, Nocturnes. Basinski’s works are released on 2062 and distributed internationally.
Richard Chartier (b.1971), sound and installation artist, is considered one of the key figures in the current of reductionist electronic sound art which has been termed both “microsound” and Neo-Modernist. Chartier’s minimalist digital work explores the inter-relationships between the spatial nature of sound, silence, focus, perception and the act of listening itself. Chartier’s sound works/installations have been presented in galleries and museums internationally including the 2002’s Whitney Biennial and he has performed his work live across Europe, Japan, Australia, and North America at digital art/electronic music festivals and exhibits. In 2000 he formed the recording label LINE and has since curated its continuing documentation of compositional and installation work by international sound artists/composers exploring the aesthetics of contemporary and digital minimalism. In 2010, Chartier was awarded a Smithsonian Institution Artist Research Fellowship to explore the National Museum of American History’s collection of 19th-Century acoustic apparatus for scientific demonstration.
Aurora Liminalis is the superb 2nd collaborative work between renowned composer, William Basinski, and sound artist, Richard Chartier (Pinkcourtesyphone). A single, 44 minute piece of expansive, entropic ambient drone billowing from the core to decay and disintegrate into filigree microtones and intangibly gaseous harmonic shimmers. It's immersive to say the least, with a spectral presence and radiant, synaesthetic quality that feel like light morphing into sound. Recommended for deep listening.
Now in its second edition of 500, Aurora Liminalis is the second collaboration from these East Coast minimalists. Whereas the three untitled pieces produced by the pair in 2003 blended their solo experiments with the Voyetra 8, an analog synth module of the early Eighties, this new release, consisting of a single 45 minute piece, offers no such information on its ingredients nor intent., However, given the pedigree and consistent focus of these composers, where Basinski's compositions exploit the unpredictable qualities of redundant media and entropic tape loops while Chartier is more disposed to fragile digital sound sculptures, the results are an expert fusion of the commonalities and tensions between their idiosyncratically different working methods.
Growing very gradually from an atmospheric rumble, Basinski and Chartier augment their listener's reality with sonorous, suspended tones that arc and soar to describe elemental movements on a planetary scale. Their natural surges move with the perceived speed of a distant aircraft, it's seemingly slow trajectory is an illusion that masks the true speed and turbulence felt in the cockpit. In this way, the sound suggests distant, large movements in a heavy, portentous sky. Then, less than a quarter of the way in the charged particles suggested by its title further animate the sonic vista in the form of percussive taps and emboldened tones smoothly, yet ominously, expanding.
It's a majestic, if lonely, journey as their daunting atmospherics sail through quelled and quietened passages to arrive in billowing and thunderous beyonds. The feedback-like glassy tones that gild their surging sound-field shine with a delicate grace that obscures an underlying sense of menace, like the beauty of a sparkling sea, when observed from a distance, hides its merciless, deathly power.
And it's this evocation of the strength and elegance of the elements that make Aurora Liminalis such a compelling experience. The atmosphere Basinski and Chartier have expertly built is both graceful and wild, at once an inviting and intriguing experience and yet to be feared.
Is that the cloudy seat of the divine domain underlit by the burning brimstone beneath the abyss? The cover image created for Aurora Liminalis by James Elaine is aptly huge and ambiguous. For this imposing piece by William Basinski and Richard Chartier resembles a confrontation between heaven and hell, each pressed against the other just above earthline with unfathomable force.
A clash of Gog and Magogian proportions seems imminent as one gains ground only to lose it right back . You hear cracks snapping in the sinews of the mighty monoliths. Fortunately, this gargantuan test of strength ends in a standoff, not the apocalypse, and literally fizzles out. Aurora Liminalis is all about tension. Basinski is best known for his work with obsolete technology and Chartier state-of-the-art digital, so the pairing makes for a fitting dichotomy. Three-quarters of an hour of grave. awesome ambient on the threshold of violence in the pre-mortal world.
... sound-artist (and LINE label owner) Chartier began working with Basinski in Los Angeles in 2006; a slow unfolding process in which Chartier's identity (minimalist, monochrome, microtonal) merged with Basinski's (rich romantically-inclined decay), resulting in a quietly stunning partnership in which fine tones of digital light lend a luminous spectral depth to crumbling classical melancholy.
For their second collaborative release (following Untitled 1-3), these two composers who work in very different, but musically complementary realms have created a single, 45 minute work that makes for the perfect blend of light and shadow, clear and haze, with the album artwork making for a perfect metaphor for the sound within.
The first collaboration between these two involved them reworking each other's archival materials and unfinished works at various stages of completion, but Aurora Liminalis is a completely fresh work made up of new materials. The two may work together brilliantly, but their backgrounds are diametrically opposite: Chartier is a self-taught artist who draws heavily from synthetic sources and DSP processing, while Basinski has a classically trained background and prefers to work with magnetic tape and other less than perfect analog equipment. However, the differences complement each other perfectly, pairing organic warmth and digital precision throughout.
At times a warm, rich analog tone is stretched out to infinity, with all the imperfections of the dated technology, only to then be paired with carefully modulated digital interference and squeaky static fragments. During other moments, clinically precise buzzing square waves are mixed with fuzzy, inconsistent bits of tape hiss.
One thing Basinski and Chartier do share is an ear for the subtle and an avoidance of overbearing sonic bombast, and that is clearly reflected here. From the waves of tone to delicate crystalline fragments of static, everything remains hushed and distant, but never so much that it becomes the aural equivalent of wallpaper. Instead it demands attention and focus. The changes are subtle, but extremely effective: a mystical drone off in the distance is too dramatic to ignore, and the occasionally percussive pop or click makes for a forceful change, without being intrusive or overly disruptive.
The constant flow and shift is like the passage of light, at times bringing in a glorious, glowing warmth, while other times casting shadows and creating ghostly apparitions that may or may not be present. The result is a brilliant collaboration that comes across as unique entries in both artists' discographies, not sounding completely like either but bearing both of their marks perfectly.
As I drift ever deeper into Aurora Liminalis, I am drawn into a certain descriptive phrase used during its press release: “undulating trails of light”. Rather than use it as a launch pad from which my own mental visuals take flight, I’m traveling in reverse; the more I listen, the more prominent this definition becomes in my mind’s eye, representing the point at which Chartier and Basinski’s music ceases to feel like the sum of separate visions and starts to adopt a singular, telepathically fused identity.
While I acknowledge both musicians to have a very expansive and multi-dimensional relationship with sound, there are certain characteristics that I distinctly identify with one or the other. Years spent with Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops means that I deem his name synonymous with decay; the sound of age and the imminence of death, traveling away from a point of pristine glory toward the void, with the indicators of weathering (stuttering tones, muffled frequencies) paradoxically evoking both an intimate link to the past and the here-now-and-then-gone of the present. Meanwhile, Chartier (via his gorgeous Grand Tonometer composition, Transparency) sculpts sound one molecule at a time – careful assemblies of frequency that hang like crystal sculptures in a vacuum, each tiny element subjected to manipulation and refinement. While it’s a gross generalisation to say so, I perceive Basinski to shed light on the looming, uncontrollable mortality of sound and Chartier to cast sound meticulously into the canvas of the infinite and abstract, untouched by the inevitability of life’s slow decline.
Aurora Liminalis is a wondrous mixture of the two. It howls as a blurred, misdirected echo; tonality present but difficult to grasp, folding over itself into impossible shapes. Sometimes it feels like a soft fire pushing up from the left and the right, lapping at the bottom of the ears as electronic warmth and crackle, partially lost to the past and emerging as a paler, less defined version of its former self. Yet there’s a haunt of manipulated shape and direction – little jets of static rise up slowly just as tectonic shudders commence a gradual retreat, while the overall structure tilts gently in and out of stereo balance. “Undulating trails of light”…a premeditated decay; a gentle tug on fate’s reins that asserts direction into the slow dimming of sound – the descent into the void is inevitable, yet Chartier and Basinski’s wonderfully co-ordinated collaboration maintains a subtle control over the manner of doing so.
It would appear that, to Chartier's LINE imprint, given the calibre of their previous collaborative work, Untitled (rereleased 2008 as 'Untitled 1 - 3'), the chance to release more work from Richard Chartier and William Basinski's creative partnership is too good an opportunity to miss. Due to be released on February 18th, 'Aurora Liminalis' is one of those rare releases that encapsulates entirely what it is that an imprint is about - in this case, the clarity of vision and quality of music that can be reached from any sort of musical background, and that can come from any particular approach to modeling sound. Chartier's background as a self-trained sound / installation artist (one that has garnered him acclaim as one of the leading figures in the current microsound movement), could not be further away from the purposefully 'obsolete' technologies used by classically tutored musician and composer Basinski - yet this second installment in their collaborative relationship is the model of a cohesive musical direction.
Indeed, the sounds created on this release are a far cry from either of their individual works, yet are still very much rooted in their solo compositions / installations. Made up of a single composition, 'Aurora Liminalis' is a forty minute monolith that spans hollow ambient landscapes, underlying beds of machine hiss, and an array of such finely produced sounds that it is almost akin to natural sound phenomena in its fertile detail.
The work is also a breath of fresh air in regards to form - so often do ambient or microsound compositions follow the (perhaps compositionally intuitive but nevertheless easy-to-get-tired-of) 'arc' of starting off very minimally at a low volume and building into noise goliaths, before subsequently fading away. 'Aurora Liminalis', although having a momentary fade-in, degrades over its stretch from a complex web of shimmering hi-fidelity sounds into softly clipping noise gates and the type of background hiss that stands as the major attraction of still using tape recorders. This release is one that is so definitely 'of' the LINE imprint that it has to be listened to, several times at the very least.
While the world (or just people with really really excellent taste in music) dutifully awaits the release of William Basinski’s next full-length album Nocturnes, one’s affinity for gradual, hypnotic tones must not go unfulfilled. I’m talking about really gradual — the type of gradual where (because it’s so gradual), you don’t realize how gradual the tones actually are, until silence marks the end of the recording. You started listening to the album on a Tuesday in the winter, and by the time it’s finished, it’s the second Twednesday of August, in the year 3144. That’s right, the music was so gradual and immersive that, unbeknownst to you, it coincided not only with magnificent medical breakthroughs, but also the invention of a new day of the week: Twednesday.
Hyperbole aside, the first collaborative album between William Basinski and microsound musician Richard Chartier, released in 2004, certainly blurred the occasionally indistinct line between ambient and drone. Can we expect the same for their upcoming release, Aurora Liminalis, due out next month? The official description from Chartier’s own LINE imprint suggests… oh god, yes: “Disintegrating spatial shifts incorporating the two artists’ distinct sonic palettes mesh to create a slow, deep ebb and flow… like some melting spectral transmission.” Listen to the clip, and feel free to get your preliminary melt on.
Altra prova di maestria per Basinski e Chartier: in questo lavoro confluiscono generi, tecniche e suoni affinati in due decenni e più di attività. Ambient, drone, layering microtonale, astrazione armonica, atmosfere spettrali e suono liminare, ai confini con la soglia dell’udibile: tanti sono gli elementi messi in gioco, in questo piccolo saggio di immersività, in cui gli elementi sensoriali e psicologici diventano elemento di indagine sofisticata intorno alla fenomenologia del suono digitale.
(Blow Up, Italy)
La magnifica cover che annuncia “Aurora Liminalis” è un biglietto da visita quantomai indicativo per introdurci al nuovo album di Richard Chartier e William Basinski: due personaggi che non hanno certo bisogno di presentazioni, figure chiave e imprescindibili dell'elettronica sperimentale del nuovo millennio. Se di Chartier si era parlato non troppo tempo fa, in occasione dell'ottimo “Recurrence”, per Basinski si tratta di un ritorno dopo tre anni di silenzio totale: tanti ne sono passati dalla doppietta “92982”-”Vivian & Ondine” e mai tanti ne erano trascorsi fra un disco e l'altro nella carriera del genio americano.
Non sorprende dunque che questo secondo lavoro della coppia, successore di “Untitled” (datato 2004), sia fra le prove più atmosferiche e “calde” mai prodotte da entrambi i musicisti. Le sperimentazioni ambientali di Chartier e la passione per i cicli sonori di Basinski trovano infatti in questo “Aurora Liminalis” un compimento del tutto nuovo, immerse in un caustico tramonto emotivo di stampo ambient che le ricongiunge con naturalezza ai soundworks più oscuri dei corrieri californiani (A Produce e Lustmord, ma anche lo Steve Roach di “Day Out Of Time” e “Dynamic Stillness”).
La suite unica di tre quarti d'ora abbondanti che prende il nome dal disco e lo compone per intero è un'avvolgente massa sonora in lento ma continuo movimento, perfetta per rappresentare le sinuose scie dell'aurora. Il crescendo dei primi minuti parte dalle profondità del dark-ambient per prendere progressivamente sempre più luce: è uno scambio perfettamente combaciante fra il minimalismo (quasi non-musicale) di Chartier e i loop di Basinski, mai così intrisi di field recording e strati sovrapposti.
Dopo i primi venti minuti, il processo s'inverte: la discesa nell'oscurità è ancor più lenta e impercettibile, ornata dal progressivo scomparire degli echi melodici in favore dell'ascesa di sample naturali e crepitii, che divorano a poco a poco la materia sonora fino a sfumare solitari nei cinque minuti conclusivi.
“Aurora Liminalis” è l'album perfetto per festeggiare i quindici anni di attività di Basinski e Chartier – entrambi debuttanti nel 1998 – nonché il regalo migliore che due protagonisti del loro calibro potessero porgere a questo inizio di 2013. La riconciliazione con le forme più classiche dell'ambient passa attraverso l'applicazione ad esse delle rispettive innovazioni, che trovano in questa nuova pelle una collocazione fra le più riuscite e, per certi versi, “accessibili” della loro carriera. Un piccolo capolavoro da due grandi dell'elettronica contemporanea.
Mentioning William Basinski will probably immediately raise associations with his Disintegration Loops, a project about analogue tape deterioration which became history linked to the terrifying 9-11-2001 events, found its way into the Metropolitan Museum and recently was re-released in a massive box set with (O, Conceptual Irony!) remastered versions of the original (deteriorated) recordings.But there's a lot more in the Basinski discography apart from that. Having worked together on the 2008 release Untitled 1-3, this is the second collaboration with Richard Chartier. Aurora Liminalis may translate as 'liminal light'—of which the further interpretations may differ depending on what you want to hear.
Stylistically, this is nothing like Basinski's Disintegration Loops. But that is not entirely unexpected, since Untitled 1-3 didn't sound like them either). The album starts from absolute quiet and slowly emerges, luring you to follow it while it grows into a deafening (yet still quiet somehow) noise. This is clearley not intended to be a background ambient drone: its subtleties only reveal if you carefully listen behind what's going on up front. The result is organic: it is impossible to distinguish what is Basinski's or Chartier's specific input—a perfect blend of two sound artists interacting.
Gee whiz! I cannot but exclaim so when I read the names of two grand masters of frontier sonic disciplines, Richard Chartier and William Basinski, who already showed how complementary their sonic languages are on "Untitled", which was releases almost ten years ago by Spekk. Chartier's personal declension of minimalism as a collection of entities on the threshold between silence and sound and Basinski's pulchritudinous harmonies in ultra slow motion coelsce again on this highly visionary 45 minutes lasting track, whose title "Aurora Liminalis" and beautiful cover artwork sound like a sort of walk-through for listeners. It could be splitted in two parts: on the first one, there's a sort of gradual ascension, where Basinski and Chartier describe a dawn in minute details, so that listeners could almost feel they managed to expose each single photon of each sun ray as well as the gradual spreading of light by means of a slow fade-in which manages to evoke this daily spectacular natural show and the charming paint of its inanimate and animate onlooker and bystanders. While you could imagine that sunbeams are trying to reach the abyss of oceans, the sonic watershed begins to sneak in just after nine minutes. It slowly taxies and percolates till it becomes clearly distinguishable and sounds hypnotic as if it were the sonic representation of chores, social conventions and any possible epiphany of self-identity, which could divert attention from surrounding happenings, whose sonic comeback sounds tardive as the sun is already withdrawing and dragging the colours from the world. The singed electric buzz on the final part of the descending phase of "Aurora Liminalis" almost evokes the metaphoric smouldering of the night and the soot of the fog, where the bonfires of artificial lights could let you think about the last burning points of an almost completely charred leaf soon thereafter the sun removed its colourful warm mantle. You shouldn't wonder how an ambient record could suggest such a scenery when sonic scenographers are so talented. A proper little masterpiece.
Enfin, et c’était d’abord le propos avant de nous répandre comme des cons, LINE vient surtout d’annoncer la sortie de deux nouveaux disques, dont une collaboration entre Richard Chartier + William Basinski. Bref, c’est Beyoncé qui rencontre Madonna, Pelé qui sodomise Messi. Une rencontre (pour la deuxième fois) au plus haut niveau de la stratosphère ambient pour une unique piste de quarante minutes. Cela s’appelle Aurora Liminalis, ça sort le 14 février prochain, et pour l’avoir écouté en entier seulement une seule fois, c’est un must-have délicat. Voilà de quoi tuer le temps avec ce froid qui caille dehors.
a shimmering, slightly mechanised-sounding symphony of gentle hisses and rumbles, tiny decayed melodic details and peaceful drones, all blurred down to a smooth, soft wall of ambience where it’s very hard to distinguish which contributions have come from whom. It’s very much a deep listening experience best enjoyed alone in a quiet place, allowing the layers of texture to wash over you and letting your mind try to unscramble them. It’s giving me the feeling of being in some kind of industrial post-apocalyptic wasteland, surrounded by silent, dusty machines with weeds sprouting from them. Obviously a pretty essential purchase for all you sound art fans.
Aurora Liminalis est une bande sonore enregistrée en une seule piste qui dure plus de quarante minutes. C'est une plage nébuleuse et magnétique (forcément) illustrant le reflux du ciel, les traînées de lumière et les fusions spectrales. Je pourrais en rester là. J'aime certes bien me foutre de votre gueule de temps en temps, mais j'ai pas trop envie que ça soit révélé tout de suite. C'est donc reparti pour un contenu descriptif qui n'engage que moi.
Les deux artistes ont poussé tellement loin le concept de collaboration qu'il est pratiquement impossible de déterminer lequel fait quoi. Nous sommes dans le maillage pur de l'espace, je pourrais dire "pavage" mais le terme est un poil trop rugueux pour illustrer un son aussi fluide. Ces messieurs ne sont pas des habitués du field recording, et ne sont pas non plus allés dans le ciel pour figer des microphones sur les cumulonimbus. Aurora Liminalis est un canevas de boucles, de bandes et de sources. Pas toutes en décomposition.
Si la terre est un barrio, le ciel fige l'oeil de ceux qui y cherchent un refuge. Cette vague immensité reçoit même les prières souvent hypocrites de terriens en détresse. De toutes les inventions de l'homme, je doute qu'aucune n'ait été aussi facile que celle du ciel disait Lichtenberg. Lincoln, tout aussi controversé, lui répondait qu'il comprenait qu'on soit athée en regardant la terre, mais ne comprenait pas qu'on puisse lever la nuit les yeux au ciel et dire qu'il n'y a point de Dieu. Deux représentations s'affrontent depuis toujours, même si de tout temps, l'humain veut voir ce qui se cache "derrière" la terre comme le ciel. Les deux artistes s'en foutent. L'art n'a cure des desseins des hommes.
Tracer une fine fosse rectiligne dans les béances du ciel ombragé et contempler ce qui s'en déverse. Lumière volatile qui tente de s'échapper. Souffle, cendres et eau. Les drones s'effleurent tendrement pour lâcher leur lot de fréquences subtilement métalliques. Peu à peu, le champ magnétique se crée, re-définit les lois de la pesanteur et de l'attraction. Les graves percent en toute rondeur, maintiennent, malgré le détail impressionnant de micro-sons aux alentours, un équilibre troublant en place. On s'accroche au moindre fragment céleste comme le pénitent à ses croyances. Après l'intelligente confusion, ballet de spectres romantique, des parfums de paix calme exhalent le moindre mouvement lent. Au loin, des éléments pulsatils et des sages gargarismes célestes viennent troubler comme il faut cette volupté béate. Une fumée blanche s'échappe, même sans suite à la moindre démission. Le ciel ne s'éclaircit pas, tant que le tonnerre (aussi sage soit-il) a la main mise. Une pluie minérale s'abat avec amour sur la couche des hommes. Les masses se gorgent d'électricité statique. Des fréquences sursautent. Le rêve est fini. Balayés par un vent sec les yeux s'ouvrent. Pas de météorite en vue. Le jour se lève, demain te bouscule. Tu ne te réveilles pas. Comme d'habitude.
Certains décrèteront cette musique comme "élitiste". Elle démontrera bien sûr toute sa splendeur sur une installation de très bon niveau. Pas au casque, l'isolement n'est pas prescrit, tout comme le mp3. L'envahissement de l'espace, oui. Cette musique n'est pas élitiste car elle ne fait pas mystère de son contenu, pragmatique et minimaliste. Elle est juste exigeante. C'est un passeport pour l'audiophilie. On n'atteint pas le ciel d'un simple saut. Basinski et Chartier ont érigé l'escalier pour l'atteindre. A vous de faire le reste.
William Basinski and Richard Chartier do not appear too concerned with the concrete details of auroral acoustics. Rather, their new collaborative record “Aurora Liminalis” aims at creating “the aural equivalent of undulating trails of light”, suggesting an act of translation or synaesthesia rather than scientific documentation. One could certainly associate the single album-length track’s gentle hiss and rumble with the ethereal and majestic sight of cascading luminous airborne waves; like the aurorae themselves, the music trembles at the threshold of perception, simultaneously intense and vague. It seems to me that the two artists are careful to avoid romanticising aurorae or turning them into occasions for the projection of individual emotional experience. Instead, the music is perhaps an attempt to represent the experience of a natural phenomenon in all its aspects, whether sensory, cognitive, or psychological: swells and fades mimicking shimmering light, for example, or straining to hear as a translation of straining to see. In this sense “Aurora Liminalis” proves to be very effective. I was completely caught up in a sense of strangeness and wonder, yet the veracity of the representation was never in doubt; though I have never seen an aurora in person, I was left with the impression that this is “the aural equivalent” of what it is like to experience one. From this point of view, I suppose you could say that “Aurora Liminalis” has the same balance of imagination and truthfulness that is often ascribed to a good photograph.
“Aurora Liminalis” is available in CD and download editions from Chartier’s own LINE imprint. It is interesting to find a work so overtly representational in its strategy appearing on a label well-known for its focus on a more abstract approach: although there are many releases in its back catalogue that consider the relation between sound and vision, including some on DVD, I nonetheless struggled to find one that could appropriately be described as a ‘landscape’ record in quite the same way as “Aurora Liminalis” can. At the same time, it is clear that the florid and rose-tinted excesses of 19th-century Romantic landscape painting have been rejected in favour of a more precise, perception-based Modernist aesthetic; in this sense the release is perfectly in tune with the label’s ethos. If you’ve found previous LINE releases too dry, or if you’re tired of the emotive introspection of more expressive landscape-oriented music, then “Aurora Liminalis” deserves a close listen; if you’re already a fan of the label’s output, you’ve probably already hit the order button.
Cambio de década, cambio de folio. Han pasado varias temporadas y aquel trabajo nos parecía una extraña anomalía irrepetible. Sin embargo, hacia fines del 2011 recuerdo leer en una de las cuentas de Chartier sobre el hecho que se encontraban trabajando en nuevo material. Es segunda mitad del 2012 y ya aparecen extractos del futuro disco conjunto en Soundcloud. Pero es recién hoy, febrero de 2013, que aparece “Aurora Liminalis”, la nueva obra integra luego de la larga espera. “‘Aurora Liminalis’ es una rica y nebulosa banda sonora, el equivalente aural de rastros ondulados de luz. Desintegrando cambios espaciales incorporando las distintivas paletas sónicas de ambos artistas para crear un lento y profundo decaimiento, un flujo… como una fusión de transmisión espectral”. Mientras que su primer trabajo reutilizaba grabaciones archivadas hace años, este es un disco totalmente nuevo.“Aurora Liminalis” esta dividido en tan solo uno, una sola y larga pieza de cuarenta y cuatro minutos y veinte segundos, donde no existe ritmo alguno, donde la estridencia es un concepto que no tiene cabida, donde solo existe un fluido de audio que transcurre incesantemente. No obstante, a pesar de su fragor bajo, posee una materialidad que excede el sonido. Como habitualmente sucede con la música creada por Basinski, el impacto de su obra llega a niveles físicos. Comienza a sonar, pero solo se oye silencio. Pasan catorce segundos y de manera casi imperceptible empieza a avanzar una delgada capa de ruido. Parece como el último estertor de una grabación que alguna vez fue limpia, pero de la que hoy solo quedan sus restos marchitados. No hay movimiento vertical, si hay movimiento horizontal, pero muy leve, tanto que ni se nota. Transcurren cinco minutos, pero con facilidad podrían ser veinte, cien, un día. De pronto, pequeños destellos se incrustan en la línea yacente, como luces parpadeando a velocidad baja. Un repiqueteo tibio viaja de un extremo del parlante al otro. Ya el ruido es extremo, dentro de los márgenes propios y autoimpuestos. El canto de un pez muerto se escucha muy a lo lejos. En realidad, cada elemento suena desde la melancolía más orillada, desde la distancia. Y el avance del ruido sigue su curso, inclemente, cada vez más fuerte, hasta declinar por un momento y estancarse entre planos de tonalidad microscópica. La estática que subyace bajo el manto de variabilidad leve continúa fluctuando inmóvil, y el poder físico de la música ya hace efecto. Cuando esta ya empieza a interactuar con uno mismo, progresivamente lo va absorbiendo. Las notas de estática contenida van envolviendo el cuerpo, rodeándolo pausadamente. La suciedad contamina la piel y luego los órganos, hasta quedar reducido uno a la nada frente a la inmensidad del sonido. Es poco más de la mitad del trayecto, y las direcciones van hacia Chartier. Aunque el uno se ve inmerso en el otro, y viceversa, evidentemente que uno logra percibir la marca distintiva de uno y otro. Ahora, el tono es el de los espacios donde solo puede circular la luz digital, pequeños hilos de claridad blanca en línea recta. De hecho, parecen dar destellos intermitentes, como conductos fluorescentes en mal estado. El sonido diáfano comienza nuevamente a recibir ondas de polución. El ruido es ahora subterráneo, como el sonido del concreto derruido. Durante unos instantes, la música pareciera captar como el tiempo va destruyendo la materia, como lo eterno se corrompe de manera inexorable. Y de nuevo las moléculas de resplandor van iluminando la sustancia inerte, sin poder ocultarla. Se suman elementos contradictorios, se unen en este poema ambiental en el cual donde entre la suciedad y la pureza emerge una cierta aura romántica. El polvo de estrellas extintas termina por disolverse entre los haces de luminosidad.
Mientras los cambios se suceden de forma sutil, en el fondo yace una superficie cuya tonalidad va de un gris oxidado a un blanco incandescente. Ambos músicos se funden entre sí: la orgánica accidentada de uno y la limpieza electrónica del otro. Mientras el tejido permanece en su quietud inquebrantable los fragmentos microscópicos se van incorporando a él, adhiriéndose a su amplia extensión y, al mismo tiempo, ese tejido que se recuesta sobre un plano irregular se va desfragmentando, perdiendo su identidad, como si con cada escucha esta se desgastara más y más. Pero la belleza de la materia extenuada persiste inalterable, en forma de fantasmal melancolía. Lo inmaterial se vuelve tangible, y las partículas elementales de electrónica transparente acaban desintegrándose por una nube de delicado ruido espectral, luz liminal.
Dass ausgerechnet William Basinski und Richard Chartier zusammengefunden haben, ist eine Überraschung. Während nämlich Basinski epische Traumwelten entwirft, die gelegentlich über eine Stunde lang auf der Stelle treten, ist Chartiers Oeuvre von radikal reduzierten Leinwänden aus minimalen Partikeln geprägt, deren Konstellationen sich ständig verändern. Dennoch ist „Aurora Liminalis“ bereits die zweite Kollaboration des ungleichen Duos und erneut eine fruchtbare: Ein einziger, 45 Minuten langer Track bewegt sich von einem Extrem des Spektrums zum nächsten, von wuselig treibenden Klangwolken bis hin zu Schleifen aus Knistern und Knacken.
Aurora Liminalis is one long collaboration between two rather different but somehow kindred musical spirits. William Basinski made a splash with his captivatingDisintegration Loops series several years ago (which featured looping electronics on deteriorating tape, documenting a literal disintegration process of the original recordings), and his aesthetic is fragile and warm and usually feels more analogue. Richard Chartier has been helming the Line imprint for some time now, and his œuvre tends to focus on pure digital signal processing and severe minimalism as well as spatial sound installations. Both artists tend to create finished works that are quite ambient, but the tone of each’s work is substantially different. Hearing this collaboration, it somehow makes perfect sense. The push and pull between something organic and warm against a more methodical and clean instinct permeates throughout Aurora Liminalis. The dynamics of the piece ebb and flow, but most of the time I get the impression of shimmering and refracted light, not unlike the stark cover image by James Elaine. The final stretch of decay that comprises the last several minutes of the piece is pure Basinski — a pronounced, analogue tape hiss that grows in intensity before not just rising to the surface, but becoming the surface itself. It’s a subtle piece that is equally soothing and engaging, quietly enveloping like the light its title references.
William Basinski and Richard Chartier join together almost a decade after their initial work together in 2004 for this years Aurora Liminalis. Released in February on the imprint LINE, the two critically acclaimed sound sculptors and experimentalists have crafted a glowing, intellectual and transcendental body of work. My senses are in full contact with every piece of sound projecting in multitude of angles and shapes, placing me inside of a journey that doesn’t dissipate until the music stops. Aurora Liminalis is a stunning achievement of translucent tones and abstract communication that extends the legacy of both of these artists involved. The inclusion of the album on LINE fits perfect with the imprints purpose in modern culture, a label which was co-founded by Chartier himself. Now in a stage of independence from the imprint 12K since 2011, LINE has continued their sonically adventurous pathway of album releases in strident form and Aurora Liminalis is as special as they come.
For any of those who are unaware of William Basinski, his analog based works have become legendary in modern drone, ambient and experimental music. One glimpse of his prolificDisintegration Loops series and there is no denying this reality. Currently residing in Los Angeles along with Chartier, William Basinski spent a majority of his career in New York making a name for himself as one of the premier composers of experimental music. With Richard Chartier and William Basinski sharing such a strong lineage to ambient composition, the pairing of the two minds is as equally great as anything they have created outside of one another. Their first album was released in Japan in 2004 and has become a highly respected collaboration in its genre. It’s an untitled ambient drone masterpiece that reflects the same conjoining effort of various abstract configurations their new album stands for. LINE would reissue their debut LP in 2008, breathing new life into an older statement of irregular and beautiful proportions. Five years later from this reissue and the two have become a force of energy once again.
Aurora Liminalis is a very minimal album where every texture, layer and tone is held accountable to the voicing and shaping of the entire experience. Deep focus and dedication to the recording is required with volume placed in the highest registers your system can go for a suggested best results. The glistening tones shine a lot brighter and fuller when the sound levels increase, especially with the very subtle additives that shatter and reconfigure around the drones in what seems like infinite sections of the recording. As a singular piece of work outside of track differentiation, the composition moves in wavering form, capturing the essence and palpitation of life itself. Very outer worldly and transitive, there is a large body of ideas and different pathways wrapped tightly under every drone layers slow moving pulse. I have never heard this album the same twice, especially with the different mediums of atmosphere headphones and speakers provide. What remains is the same is how the music hits the core of who I am and how I value life. A complete state of connection with the music and my own purpose here overcomes me and feels like a bathing of sound is cleansing my soul. It’s normally the small and subtle things in life that carry the most powerful and lasting affects like this andAurora Liminalis embodies that reality beyond measure.
Visual artists James Elaine is present again with Basinksi, providing the cover image used forAurora Liminalis. James Elaine has worked with Basinski extensively since his time in New York, providing imagery for many of his releases in the past. The image included for Aurora Liminalis’scover is a stunning extension of the albums feel and emotional state, raising the bar for the release and giving the initial entry point to the record a fitting aura. The first edition of this highly anticipated collaboration release has already sold out with a 1st run of 500 CD’s. We are very eager to see a second print pressed this year for anyone who missed out on ordering a copy and to see it flourish even more in the collections of those interested in preserving art, not just taking from it. This is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable listens this year and a record we are very pleased to share today at Sound Colour Vibration. We really feel it’s one of those special type of albums that has the sonic power to define a new generations standard for experimental music.
... A musician never really stops being a musician, even if they claim to have retired, and Basinski’s done nothing of the kind. Quite the opposite. Aurora Liminalis ,Basinski’s newest release for the impeccable Line label, is his second collaboration with like-minded sound tinkerer Richard Chartier. It’s been a few years since Untitled 1 – 3, their first outing together, and while that lengthy collection of pieces was often harsh, arctic, and claustrophobic (not criticisms), Aurora Liminalis is expansive and richly warm. It’s a much more concise offering, one long track totaling forty-four minutes of carefully textured drone and sound collage, but to call it simple would be doing the music a great injustice.
The piece emerges from utter quiet to shroud your headscape in cobwebs of eerie drone, periodically tapering off into hiss, bell-like tones or softer frequencies before gradually building steam again, treating us to small slices of melody like hesitant birds darting in and out of the frame. By the time we close on a wave-like rush of static, we’re drained and exhausted, satisfied in all the good ways experimental music is supposed to make us feel. Compositions like this can only make the most mundane, everyday activities seem heroic. This is music with an aura, a real magnetic pull. It’s impossible to escape it’s insistent, softly tugging orbit.
As long as Mr. Basinski desires, he can stay at the forefront of modern American composers with the barest of effort, though clearly great care was put into this forty-plus minute odyssey of spectral, raining light. As a matter of fact, the man has a solo album intriguingly titled Nocturnes due out this summer. Aurora Liminalis, however, is a fine reminder that no matter how much (or how little) we hear from him, when it comes to Basinski, those of us clued in are always listening.
On voit mieux désormais ce qui rapproche William Basinski, le désintégrateur de bandes magnétiques, de Richard Chartier, le virtuose du sound-design: un même projet à l'intérieur duquel l'expérience limite du silence et du temps se fond dans l'exploration des formes les plus avancées du minimalisme. Aurora Liminalis, en 45 minutes d'une densité et d'une concision à toute épreuve, achève de réaliser ce programme en combinant de manière définitive les obsessions respectives de ces deux artistes. Disloquée entre drones cryptiques et tape loops souterraines, Aurora Liminalis suit en effet un tracée mathématique aux allures de descentes dramatiques jusqu'au pôles les plus extrêmes du son. Sur leur passage, Richard Chartier et William Basinski pulvérisent toutes les lignes de démarcation jusqu'ici admises entre ouvrage analogique et géologie digitale. On pense souvent aux théories de John Cage sur l'effacement du compositeur derrière l'expérience de la musique pour elle-même.Aurora Liminalis se situe bel et bien dans cet héritage. A l'encontre de tous les codes de l'écriture musicale, c'est une pièce qui semble réécrire en permanence les lois de sa propre morphogenèse pour s'enfoncer dans un état de radiance extrême et atteindre finalement un stade d'indétermination total, point de non-retour à partir duquel la musique n'a plus d'autre fin qu'elle-même et sa propre disparition dans le vide qu'elle a créé autours d'elle.
On a la sensation qu'Aurora Liminalis, à travers son programme d'auto-effacement, rejoue la tragédie contemporaine de l'ambient, musique démocratique au possible, désormais livrée à une forme terminale d'uniformisation et d'aseptisation mortifère. Là réside toute la puissance subversive de la pièce de Basinski et Chartier, qui résume en une fraction de secondes 30 ans d'expérimentations, de Brian Eno aux formes les plus actuelles des musiques de drones, pour mieux déflagrer l'histoire du genre dans la répétition tout azimut de ses formes et la beauté surbrillante et profilactique de l'abstraction digitale.
Aurora Liminalis is the newest collaboration between sonic masterminds William Basinski and Richard Chartier. It is a single track meditation on the art of patience. The transitional phases of this piece move at a snail's pace and many moments are pretty abrasive, but the payoff is huge. It’s a lot like riding a static wave into an unknown abyss. The noisiest moments of the album sound like howling wind rushing through a million Tibetan Singing Bowls in an empty water tank. The most beautiful moments are full of lush swells, mechanical oscillations and subtle melodies. To top it all off, the track ends with the whirling of a tape, giving the track a beautifully analog finish.
Sounds and ideas like this should come as no surprise to the listener, considering who we’re dealing with here... These two men are incredible artists separately, but together they do beautiful things. This release is a case-in-point example.