The Quietus recently published a great interview with William Basinski on the tenth anniversary of the Disintegration Loops. He speaks at length about how the music came to be & what meaning he finds in the decaying loops:
The main theme of it to me was...the most profound thing to me immediately was the redemptive nature of what had just transpired; the fact that the life and death of each of these melodies was captured in another medium and remembered. So that was really the main thought, not so much the mortality.
As well as how the significance of 9/11 affected the music:
I had this massive sound system in there. It was massive and all the windows were open. So I just put the Disintegration Loops on while everyone was staring at what was going on. While we tried to work out what the hell was going on... All of a sudden the world had changed. It had taken on new meaning. As the days and months went by, people just cascaded into their own disintegration loops of fear, terror and anxiety. But also there was a rethinking going on about what had value. There was a lot of compassion in the public sphere amongst New Yorkers... I decided to release the records as an elegy. I would release them myself one at a time because I couldn't afford to produce a box set and no one knew who I was anyway. It would have been too much but I felt that each one had plenty of music on it.
It happened over 10 years ago but I can't watch this without welling up.