William Basinski's cinematic Nocturnes


The "Basinski" experience is quite astonishing. For as longer as it has passed, you don't actually know how much time has really passed. You might keep your notion of the real exterior time, but your inner time seems to be, somehow, decelerated. In other words, it seems more close to the dreamlike experience, where you keep focused on a subject that moves so little, although it moves in circles and repeats its movements, its variations make you feel the "everytime, new moment coming" (like you were one step back from the present time), even if you can't really distinguish it from the one before.

I know for sure the Disintegration Loops had another length and mood from the Nocturnes, the feeling of the disintegration had a material thing going on and it made us understand deeply, with a certain intuition — the very same from the dream experience too — the melancholic mood around William Basinski's performance itself. Back then, I even recalled the experience of the experimental film by Chieko Shiomi - "Disappearing Music for Face" (1966), which shows a slowly disappearing smile, where one can't almost tell the difference between the present frame and the one after, but your mind assimilates the difference and soon you'll understand the mood changing. But these Nocturnes show another feelings, those that one can recognize either from cinema either from dreams (they seem to work together in certain points of one's reception — from the outer or from the inner). To simplify the feelings exposed by these nocturnes, they are very much related to Fear and Danger, but always dissimulated, as they are indexes to those notions of the meaning of the night as a concept.

Another key point I must add from the experience of Basinski's music is also the visuals behind, which seemed before not to be this relevant. They propose now, in the Nocturnes, as they did with Disintegration Loops, the variations of repetition, that are stating the same ideas that his music.  But these Nocturnes visuals were somehow making a narration of movement that approaches cinema/dreams fiction. The quite unbelievably simple images that record the moon with the clouds at night, make this quite simple movement of a non static camera, pretending to want to be static or in one's hands, but what your eyes see is a totally different world. And boom! there you are again in a non-time dreamstate, with unbelievably small and still distinguishable variations of clouds and — the most important visual effect — a lifting moon that never stops to ascend, like a big bubble in that dark liquid of the night. And this whole amount of simple things makes you enter deeply in your inner conceptions and stop caring about what your eyes see, because they might trick you and by then your brain had already propose you another perspective of time, sound and feelings.


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