William Basinski @ Union Chapel

The Rockstar of Ambient you say? The aesthetic and visual prowess of William Basinski would support that statement. A long black robe drapes down to his knees — sparkling like diamonds in the night sky — with blacked out, yet mirrored, aviators to complete the look.

Naturally illuminated by candles arranged around the Union Chapel’s breathtaking stage. With sincerity and respect he gives a preamble to the performance, a special preview of his new piece ‘on time out of time’. This piece’s tale of a love story about a riff in time and space from a billion years ago highlights his wish to display science through sound. A very absorbing way to start the set, the added context and personal touch already helped foster that deep connection you get from his work.

Concluding the intro, he moves commandingly over to his many-channeled mixer; towering-tall, poised for the performance. With the slightest of slides on a channel, thunderous weight swells into being, instantaneously filling the Chapel with a powerful sound. Quickly realising some of the inspirations he described prior, the most minute movement of space creating a massive shift in sound and energy, launching me into vivid astral meditation on the high-energy-spacial-sound contrast of the Big Bang. The constant celestial wob, ebbing-and-flowing as the creative force contrasts in those fateful years of pure energy and matter.

As the energy builds, electrifying, stormy weight flashes all around, yet slowly, giving way to lighter reverberations. Coming higher – growing – closer to the light, creative forces colliding, swelling, almost falling in on themselves…cylindrical space-sound. Truly ambient, full of glowing, celestial sound, dropping off only slightly in places. Deep notes vibrated the length of the pews, sound powerful enough to move the densest of space. Fading out into the slow breeze of the sea; life blossoms.

Quickly ending in such lush notes , for me, illustrated the ephemeral existence of human life – even life in general – in comparison to the billions of years of quasi-spatial-raw-energy which has been battling away to create it; life is but a mere dot on the cosmic calendar.

On the whole a very meditative, celestial ambient piece with added contextual depth. Although slightly familiar in places and not as groundbreaking as some of his other works, it was a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. As this brings the series of Krankbrother’s ambient gigs at the Union Chapel to close in a stylish and ceremonial way, I sincerely hope this is just the start of these type of bookings from the now legendary promoters.