The phenomenon of Ian William Craig’s music is a curious one. Classically trained as a singer in the operatic/choral tradition and professionally working as a teacher of printmaking at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Craig is now best known as a self-taught experimenter in the world of analogue synths, droning instruments, reel-to-reel machines, and re-purposed tape decks. The transcendent and meditative beauty of his lush arrangements combined with his distinctive ethereal vocals point to something pure and almost immaculate. Take the voice of Art Garfunkel, add in the cavernous choralism of Julianna Barwick along with the vast wintry soundscapes of Lawrence English, then run it all through a hundred layers of William Basinski’s disintegration loops, and this may come close to what Craig accomplishes on his new record Centres. The heavy and expectant melody on teaser track “A Single Hope” may indicate that this will be the most song-oriented of Craig’s albums, a logical conclusion to the slow-motion shoegaze envisioned by Slowdive and made grandiose by Sigur Ros. This will be Ian William Craig’s first album to be issued on CD as well as LP so you have no excuse in letting this one pass by.
Centres is out on July 8 via FatCat Records.