Thuistezien 108 — 09.11.2020

Musical Material
William Basinski & Lea Bertucci

The two New York-based musicians William Basinski and Lea Bertucci meet at West for a conversation ahead of their concert later the same day in Den Haag. We hear stories from their lives, their ideas on music and the background to some of their recent works. Their musical worlds and compositional voices are unique and influential, and deeply personal to each of the creators. Yet they share many similarities allowing their two individual sets to sit comfortably next to each other in concert, and makes for a fascinating and illuminating conversational meeting.

We discover how behind their music exists a hidden world of unique creation methods, experimental instincts, an influence from science, an overlap of art and music, a fascination with sound’s physical properties as it propagates through space and architecture, and an exploration of sound as it exists in recorded mediums and the distortions this introduces. Once upon a time western art music compositions were created with pen and paper in traditional notation. Later music existed in recordings. Basinski and Bertucci show us that music creation today is so much more than that, as they push their work into new territories while drawing from the past.

Their conversation also reveals the intriguing personalities of these two creators, which lie hidden behind these often-austere sound works. Behind Basinski’s calm and mellow music lies an extroverted and boisterous personality and a propensity for vivid storytelling. Behind Bertucci’s dense and calmly intense music lies a cheerful young creator of modesty, silent confidence and a scientifically yet philosophical mindset. It is particularly charming to see how these two musicians from two different generations of experimental minimal music express their admiration for each other’s work, some of the similarities in their methods of creation, and how they learn from each other as they exchange ideas.

William Basinski’s music is a world of calm and melancholy contemplation that unveils in slow moving large duration textural works. Most notably, he is the creator behind the legendary ‘Disintegration Loops I-IV’ in which tape loops slowly crumble as they play, causing the original instrumental sounds of the pieces to gradually turn into stuttering, hissing and clicking abstractions with ever increasing drop outs.

Lea Bertucci has made a name for herself in works that move between electro-acoustic compositions, live performances, installations and multichannel sound works designed to activate the sonic properties of individual spaces. Characteristic to her works is the use of wind instruments and reverberant textures created through physical echoes and electronics, as she explores a space between contemporary classical instrumental composition and minimalism and brings them into a 21st digital world of abstract crisp clarity.

The conversation is moderated by Isabel de Sena, a Berlin-based independent curator, writer, editor and lecturer whose work is fascinated with the intersection of feminist technoscience and art. She guides the conversation into some of the lesser known aspects of the two musicians work, the intersect of art and science.

Musical Material #7: William Basinski & Lea Bertucci. Moderated by Isabel De Sena, West in collaboration with Rewire Festival on October 5th 2018

Text: James Alexandropoulos - McEwan