I’ve been spending a lot of time with William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops, “dlp 1.1” especially. Given the project’s backstory and cover art (you can read more here), it’s hard to avoid thinking about 9/11 while you’re listening to it. As a result, I’ve had today’s date at or near the front of my mind more often than I otherwise would, and while it’s certainly a somber way to spend your time, I’m inclined to think that it’s a reasonably healthy way to do what Americans collectively said we’d do about what happened that day: to never forget.
Even if you look back on “never forget” as jingoistic, I’d argue that there’s wisdom there, in the same way it’s wise to keep any significant historical event in mind when trying to understand the present or the future. We’re never finished learning the lessons history has to teach us, and “dlp 1.1” takes me back to that pregnant, pre-response moment when our path forward from that day could have been very different. I wish so badly it had been different, and I wish that more often because of The Disintegration Loops.
The first time I listened felt a little like a dare. Hearing a single melodic idea repeat over and over for more than an hour could be crazy-making, but it’s become this powerful source of comfort to me. I grown attached to the way the phrase takes you up and gently drops you back down. It’s a little like being cradled, or like having a trusted friend offer you clichéed but effective words of reassurance during a difficult time. Lately I’ve needed that kind of reassurance more than usual, and I tend to feel better after sinking into “dlp 1.1,” whether it’s for the full hour or for just a few minutes.
Maybe you’ll find comfort in the snippet below and go on to try the whole thing. Or maybe it’ll help you look at 9/11 with fresh eyes. Maybe it’ll just be irritating. I’d definitely recommend giving it a shot, though.