William Basinski’s ‘Cascade’ seems to effortlessly convey the transient quality of time - both the fleeting beauty and underlying sadness. It’s a path he has been following for sometime with his earlier ‘Disintegration Loops’ being regarded as modern day, minimal classics. He has a keen ear for evoking nostalgia and the very nature of ‘Cascade’ means that the listener can apply whatever visuals they may desire. ‘Cascade’ doesn’t have the grandeur of ‘Camino Real’ (my all-time favourite from him) but it is extremely effective nonetheless.
There has been some speculation that the loop first appeared in a different form on an earlier release entitled '92982'. If that’s so, it doesn’t really matter as Basinski has coaxed something else from it and the simple piano motif now enjoys a life of its own. Listening to Basinski’s music, one gets the sense that he picks his loops very carefully as they need to sustain for what is in essence, an album’s duration. I’ve always found the idea of that very interesting. How do you choose something that you know will work? It must be a very interesting process for the artist.
I’m rambling a little but all you really need to know is that William Basinski’s ‘Cascade’ is essential listening if you’re a fan. If you’ve never heard him before, this is as good an introduction to his work as any.