In the decade-plus since their release, William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops have become the artistic embodiment of the grief and transformational furor felt in the wake of 9/11, a status which is both burdensome and gratifying for their creator. As Basinski told TMT last year when asked about his now ubiquitous association with the tragedy:
It’s such a mixed blessing. It… I wish I never had to talk about 9/11 again, you know? But, you can’t ever forget it, and everything changed that day, the world…
I do feel like it was such an honor that was given to me, at a time when I was completely broke and didn’t really know what would happen next. I felt like I was somehow being given this incredible task. With the Disintegration Loops there came a whole new level of meaning that up until that day wasn’t part of it. Filming the last hour of daylight that night and bouncing it to the computer next day, pairing it with “dlp 1.1,” it became an elegy, and over the next weeks and months, seeing everyone in New York falling into their own disintegration loops — fear, terror, very odd ways — it felt like it had to be an elegy of some kind.
Around the time of this interview, Basinski was promoting the box set reissue of The Disintegration Loops. This 9-LP/5-CD behemoth includes a live performance DVD as well as a 148-page book chronicling September 11, 2001’s waning daylight. While no doubt exhaustive, the set is also expensive: a number of copies are still available at Temporary Residence for $225 (prepare to fork over even more on Discogs.) Thankfully, for those in need of some post-9/11 reflection in this post-2008 economy, The Disintegration Loops is being reissued in box set form again with everything except the vinyl. While this may not sit well with audiophiles, the $80 price tag should make this exquisite set accessible to more people. Plus, a portion of the profits will go to the National September 11 Memorial Museum, which will soon formally induct the loops into its collection. Preorder the set in anticipation of its November 12 release here.