The Disintegration Loops arrived with a story that was beautiful and heartbreaking in its own right. It's been repeated so many times that Basinski himself has grown weary of telling it: in the 1980s, he constructed a series of tape loops consisting of processed snatches of music captured from an easy listening station. When going through his archives in 2001, he decided to digitize the decades-old loops to preserve them. He started a loop on his digital recorder and left it running, and when he returned a short while later, he noticed that the tape was gradually crumbling as it played. The fine coating of magnetized metal was slivering off, and the music was decaying slightly with each pass through the spindle. Astonished, Basinski repeated the process with other loops and obtained similar results. Shortly after Basinski digitized his loops came the September 11 attacks. From the roof of his space in Brooklyn, he put a video camera on a tripod and captured the final hour of daylight on that day, pointing the camera at a smoldering lower Manhattan. On September 12, he cued the first of his newly created sound pieces and listened to it while watching the footage. The impossibly melancholy music, the gradual fade, and the images of ruin: the project suddenly had a sense of purpose. It would become an elegy for that day. Stills from the video were used for the covers of the CDs, and eventually, the hour-long visual with sound was released on DVD.