Ian William Craig's previous release 'A Turn of Breath' was not only a favourite with us but with the New York Times. So there. The Wire have also featured this Canadian sound collagist of late so there is high anticipation of this new record. This time round Craig has recorded very quickly (months rather than years) and has used only his voice as instrument. From the sound of the early clips, this is going to be a very special record indeed. For fans of Grouper, Colin Stetson, Belong and Arthur Russell.
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- R15 / LP on Recital including 12" x 24" color insert. Edition of 700 copies
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- Cradle for the Wanting by Ian William Craig
3 reviews. Add your own review.
You might think that Ian William Craig’s work sounds sacred. An erudite opera singer in love with a rich lineage of drone music that stretches back to his twin-obsession with Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Stars of the Lid, his work suggests formal training and critical thinking, “experimental” at perhaps its most exclusive definition. That’s ambient music’s problem, not his: ambient music is something we’re told to either tune in to, to be absorbed by, or to tune out -- study to it, work to it, treat it as a means to an end. Where is ambient when it comes to the middle ground? Where’s the way of listening to an ambient music that resembles our repetitive, fractured, weird fucking lives?
With last year’s ‘A Turn of Breath’, Ian William Craig found that middle-ground. His drone, built on pious operatic salvos and billowing vocal interpolations as heady as Julianna Barwick, was cut, reframed, repurposed and burned to cinders by way of a looping tape deck. It sounds like processing, but it’s much more than that: Craig’s work sparked renewal, while also examining certain melodies and tissues of noise under the microscope. It suggested that sense of deja vu we get when we see an image for the thousandth time and swear to god it looks different now -- it’s not that we weren’t concentrating, but that we were concentrating in a different way. In his gorgeous, distorted compositions, Craig doesn’t ask for our undivided attention -- he just waits for us to come back around.
‘Cradle For the Wanting’ follows what is both my favourite record to listen to and think about, and that feeling remains: this offers us that new way of listening to ambient music, between sketchiness and grandiosity, between being a musician’s audience member and becoming an agent of their sounds. Committing only his voice to tape -- and in so doing getting rid of additives such as the guitar that appeared on ‘A Turn of Breath’ -- this record is swirling with a multitude of Ian William Craigs, each different; cooing, humming, belting it out over hissing drones that should feel cold but instead create a crackling warmth.
At times, it feels as lonesome as any number of records in drone’s canon, but Craig’s voice is centering. On “Each All In Another All” -- titled classically for Craig, who loves plurality -- his voice comes across unperformed amongst a torrent of noise, making a dark and chilling scene feel completely safe. Blinding ambience loops over and over on “Glassblower” encasing Craig’s voice like an avalanche until his voice conjoins with it. The way his singing voice comes through on this track, though, is enough to clarify everything: at first it appears briefly and in fragments, mumbled the way his tapes crackle -- as the song fades, though, it threads together with a separate vocal intonation, the two pressed against each other in a gorgeous melodic coupling. That moment is kinda indicative of Ian William Craig as a whole: how can music this visceral, this harsh, have such gentility? The way his voices come together is swirling and violent, but he makes them sound utterly graceful.
It makes sense, though: Craig once described making drone like socialising at a cocktail party, "trying to fix one song's collar and adjust another conversation". To Craig, the harshest wind blowing is just an opportunity for two things that have never met to get acquainted. ‘Cradle For The Wanting’ is obviously an amazing record, but it’s gonna take a lot more interactions to get to know its details. I won’t try; I’ll just let it happen.
9/10 Lewi Customer review, 8th January 2016
It was a few weeks before Christmas, and I was looking for some presents I could ask my various family members for. After an hour or so I stumbled upon 'Cradle for the Wanting'.
On the surface, Ian William Craig has produced an outstanding drone album. Beneath, the complexities of it's make up are fascinating, so many individual sounds coming together creating something that sounds both delicate and heavy at the same time. Each track deserves it's own short film, and could easily stand as individual pieces as well as a collective.
It really is a fantastic piece of music, both interesting and captivating. If you ever get a chance to own this record, do so.
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