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Ambient - Released November 2, 2018 | FatCat Records

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Alternatif et Indé - Released May 5, 2017 | FatCat Records

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Slow Vessels is a companion piece to Centres, the astonishing 2016 full-length by Canadian composer Ian William Craig. That album applied his innovative tape manipulation methods to his most heartfelt (and lyrical) songs yet, resulting in some of his most resonant sentiments as well as his most mind-boggling productions. On Slow Vessels, he revisits some of the highlights from Centres, but with much more of an emphasis on the songs themselves rather than the atmospherics. Slow Vessels is intimate and stripped-down, but it's not quite "unplugged," nor does it just sound like a set of demos or alternate takes. He still incorporates drifting, decaying tapes into the songs, but they're far less prominent than his haunting, heart-stopping vocals and sparse acoustic guitar or piano accompaniment. The songs were recorded in one take while Craig was on tour in Europe, and they sound a little loose and spontaneous, but still extremely direct and controlled. While not as overwhelming as Craig's main albums, Slow Vessels is still a quietly powerful release that puts a spotlight on the raw emotional power of his work. ~ Paul Simpson
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Electronic/Dance - Released June 22, 2018 | Recital Program

Following several self-released digital albums, Canadian composer Ian William Craig made his vinyl debut with the astonishing A Turn of Breath, originally released by Sean McCann's Recital label in 2014. Craig crafts his art using decrepit tape machines and analog synthesizers, utilizing techniques common to underground noise and experimental music, but he incorporates his own operatically trained vocals into the fabric of his compositions. The busted equipment makes his already haunting voice sound more fragile and eerie, with distorted fragments passing through the tape heads several hundred times and creating ghostly, abstract rhythms. When lyrics are audible, as on the two-part "A Slight Grip, A Gentle Hold," they're about allowing heaviness and feeling something shift. More often, the vocals are transformed into patterns and clusters of sound that express pure feelings and sensations in a way that words couldn't possibly do justice. Quite simply, A Turn of Breath is one of the most creative, original, and moving experimental albums of the 2010s. ~ Paul Simpson
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Électronique ou concrète - Released November 13, 2015 | Recital

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Electronic/Dance - Released July 8, 2016 | FatCat Records

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After two well-received albums on Sean McCann's Recital label, Canadian composer Ian William Craig moved up to FatCat Records' neo-classical imprint 130701 for the release of his most ambitious statement to date, Centres. As with his previous recordings, Craig employs obsolete, faulty tape machines, layering his operatic vocals in decaying static. Centres is significantly more polished, with some clearer sonic elements and a few compositions that push closer to traditional song structures (especially "A Single Hope," which even features drums), but it's still as otherworldly as his previous works. Basically, the increased production budget makes everything sound more. It's smoother and more accessible in some ways, yet it's also more abrasive and intense. The sounds are fuller and more haunting, with tape hiss layered so heavily that it often approximates torrential rainstorms. He begins "The Nearness" with a light accordion drone and singing, eventually building up thick, noisy distortion clouds before drifting back to the sounds of the accordion sputtering away off of a tape recorder on its last legs. "Power Colour Spirit Animal" opens with the sound of a heavily throbbing machine that sounds like it's giving off sparks and about to conk out, and this transforms into a lovely wash of bright yet diseased-sounding synths. Eventually this gets doused in sizzling static, and waves of vocals emerge from underneath. "Innermost" features faint vocals struggling to speak out from under the skipping tape loops and organ drone. Some songs consist entirely of Craig's multi-tracked vocals, either floating in effects as on the breathtaking "Set to Lapse" or more straightforward as on the graceful hymn "Purpose (Is No Country)." "A Circle Without Having to Curve" (one of two ten-minute tracks on the album) might be Craig's darkest composition to date, evoking imagery of a city ravaged by a hurricane through chilling vocal drones and swarms of Fennesz-esque processing, and eventually meeting a sudden end. The album ends with a stripped-back acoustic guitar version of opening piece "Contain," captured by a wire recorder so it sounds sepia-toned but not hissy or blurry. Taking Craig's already distinctive, powerful sound to extremes, Centres is another truly remarkable work. ~ Paul Simpson
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Alternatif et Indé - Released March 20, 2020 | FatCat Records

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Alternatif et Indé - Released February 5, 2020 | FatCat Records

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Alternatif et Indé - Released March 4, 2020 | FatCat Records

Alternatif et Indé - Released January 13, 2017 | 130701

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Electronic/Dance - Released June 1, 2016 | FatCat Records

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