Blending choral, ambient and noise influences together into his customised array of analogue tape decks, composer/vocalist Ian William Craig moves you over shifting tectonic plates of operatic improvisations, fields of tape hiss, haunting pastoral melodies and billowing clouds of becoming.
Born in Edmonton, Canada in 1980, Craig’s practice runs on a combination of classical vocal training and process-based uncertainty. He received his MFA in printmaking from the University of Alberta, and after moving to Vancouver, began self-releasing albums from his new home on the coast of Canada. Drawing out analogies between his dual practices of music and print-making, Ian’s work is deeply informed by a narrative of impermanence, “notions of life as an act of becoming, and beauty within degradation and deterioration – these have been kernels that I’ve been really drawn to … When I listen back to my compositions and I look at the art I create, there’s some kind of aesthetic drive or core that I seem to constantly orbit…these becoming forms and notions of decay and circling.”
Craig turned to his background in musical theatre, avant-classical orchestration and the choral tradition for his first two physical recordings, A Turn of Breath and Cradle for the Wanting, which were issued by Recital Program to critical acclaim. Centres, his latest album released on Fat Cat Records ‘130701’ imprint in the summer of 2016, was his breakthrough record as the static rises to the surface.
“Centres is a swirling and alchemical blend of drone, keyboards, and manipulated vocals. The more time you spend with it, the further you will want to get lost in it. One ofthe most beautiful, most strange, and most unique things you hear all year” Pitchfork
“Craig takes these fragments and shapes them into existential, non-secular lyrics that are set in an archaic, spacious sounding plainchant singing style” Wire – #28 in top albums of 2016
“To be both wildly experimental and fantastically listenable is a skill that precious few people possess, but Craig has it, as the young people might say, up the ying-yang.” The Guardian
“You may find yourself slipping into a bizarre world of mania, desire, desperation, pleading, and then finally inculcation and release. As I will attest, strange things can happen to you once you come under the gravitational pull of this man’s singular music.” The Quietus – #8 in top 50 albums of 2016
“With a classically trained, opera-ready voice, Craig’s hazy, blurry compositions lie somewhere between post-classical conceptual drift, gorgeous dream-pop, shoegaze fuzz, new age float and textural Kranky Records drone excursions — all performed on fragile machines on the verge of decay and collapse.” Rolling Stone
Video / Audio
|01/05/17||Ian William Craig in Krems, AT||Donau Festival|
|08/05/17||Ian William Craig in London, UK||Oslo|