Al­bum Re­views

130701

Future Music - - CONTENTS - Tom Jones

Van­cou­ver-based singer/com­poser Ian Wil­liam Craig re­turns after an 18-month lay­off with his stun­ningly beau­ti­ful, at­mo­spheric and hyp­notic new al­bum, Thresh­older. Fol­low­ing on from 2014’s hid­den gem, A Turn of Breath and 2016’s much-lauded Cen­tres, Thresh­older is the Cana­dian’s third stu­dio al­bum and con­tin­ues with his idio­syn­cratic and dis­tinc­tive sound that lay­ers a se­ries of tape deck loops over cho­ral vo­cals and grainy, smeared tex­tures. Like his pre­vi­ous out­put, Thresh­older ex­plores a beau­ti­fully raw, smudged and frac­tured sound­scape that con­veys emo­tion and thought so deeply and di­rectly. En­gulfed in blan­kets of fuzz, static, crack­les and re­verb,

Thresh­older feels won­der­fully amor­phous and free, drift­ing among hazy, ethe­real struc­tures that ap­pear to have no form. Yet, Craig an­chors the record with an al­most in­vis­i­ble foun­da­tion of ana­logue cur­rent and his bril­liantly ma­nip­u­lated vo­cals. His clas­si­cal­ly­trained, cho­ral vo­cals, so cen­tral to his mu­sic, flood the record with emo­tions. Ma­nip­u­lated and looped through ma­chines, his stun­ning voice in­ter­plays with those fuzzy, frag­ile lay­ers of tape deck de­cay and gently hum­ming ma­chine sounds to cre­ate a record so per­sonal and in­ti­mate that it re­mains deeply mov­ing from start to fin­ish. The record is melan­cholic, but with gushes of light and warmth rush­ing in, rais­ing up through the cen­tral arc of the al­bum. It’s colder, darker ex­trem­i­ties are the breed­ing ground for surges of raw, emo­tional en­ergy and soul to over­take your con­scious­ness. A record of rare beauty and artistry, Thresh­older con­firms Craig’s place as a true in­no­va­tor of con­tem­po­rary mu­sic.

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