Album: WILLIAM BASINSKI + RICHARD CHARTIER – Untitled 1-3 (Line 034 2008)

 Untitled 1-3 is an expanded reissue of the original two track Untitled album which appeared on the Japanese Spekk label four years ago in a limited run of 1300 pressings. The new version is issued in a card sleeve on Richard Chartier’s Line imprint, this time in a run of just one thousand.

The three pieces (or four if you’re being picky, “Untitled 3” being divided into two separate parts) are closer to Chartier’s minimalist installation work than William Basinski’s tape loop experiments (the best known of these being the four album cycle The Disintegration Loops). They are long, drawn out, gently unfolding soundscapes – but this is more than just a collection of drones. Melody may be stripped and almost unrecognisable, but it is there. “Untitled 1” has barely noticeable pulses of sub bass ebbing and flowing through the piece, and sections of bubbling electronic chatter that sounds like deconstructed bird song breaking out. The second track has a cosmic, almost space-rock resonance, like a stripped down version of Zeit-era Tangerine Dream played on glass harmonicas. Annoyingly, it also has an occasionally recurring motif that sounds like my mobile’s ringtone, but that’s hardly their fault. Its 35 minute duration may seem daunting, but it doesn’t outstay its welcome at all.

The two new tracks (or one new track in two parts, depending on your point of view) are darker, more muscular and menacing pieces. Each is a mix of the same source material by Basinski and Chartier respectively.

All of the music on Untitled 1-3 is composed using existing pieces as source material – some going back as far as 1981 (Basinski loops – Chartier was only 10 years old then!), and some having been used in previous sound installations. It’s not a work for the impatient, but rewards repeated listens as hitherto unnoticed complexities become apparent.

1 Untitled 1 (20:55)
2 Untitled 2 (35:09)
3 Untitled 3 (11:27)
4 Untitled 3 (Reprise) (5:41)




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