Curating The Week: On Time, Tape Loops, And Harmonica Playing


An article about time.

“Is our experience of time’s flow akin to watching a live play, where things occur in the moment but not before or after, a flickering in and out of existence around the ‘now’? Or, is it like watching a movie, where all eternity is already in the can, and we are watching a discrete sequence of static images, fooled by our limited perceptual apparatus into thinking the action flows smoothly?”

An interview with composer William Basinski.

“I’d tune the radio in to this station, wait until something really string-y came up, either an introduction or an end or an interlude on one of these muzak numbers and I would grab a bit like a measure. Then I’d slow it down and see what I’d got. And it was really interesting because back then there was no Prozac, there were no anti-depressants, there was muzak and it was everywhere. But when you took a little piece of it and slowed it down, like looking at something under the microscope, this rich well of melancholy was exposed. And that really resonated with me.

So I found that these were the kind of textures I was interested in working with, making a tapestry with them, creating cyclic rhythms with them. And the fact that this stuff was leaking out of the airwaves, meant it felt like I was creating something out of nothing. It was one wild, mad experiment. I would set up loops, get them going, put on the tape recorder and let it go for the length of the cassette because if it was going, it captured this eternal moment.”

• A skilled harmonica player improvises over a drone in the style of Indian classical music.

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