Songs We Love: Ian William Craig, 'The Nearness' Listening to the music of Canadian singer and composer Ian William Craig is like watching a classic black-and-white movie slowly fade, decay and disintegrate.

Songs We Love: Ian William Craig, 'The Nearness'

Ian William Craig Alex Waber/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Alex Waber/Courtesy of the artist

Ian William Craig

Alex Waber/Courtesy of the artist

Listening to the music of Canadian singer and composer Ian William Craig is like watching a classic black-and-white movie slowly fade, decay and disintegrate. A trained opera singer, Craig bases most of his songs around his poignant, searching vocals. Using analog synthesizers and tape delays, he turns this self-generated source material into tactile, abstract art. The resulting sounds flicker and dissolve in unexpectedly moving ways.

Craig has been making music for a while, most of it self-released in small editions. In the past few years, though, he's crafted two more widely available albums — 2014's A Turn Of Breath and 2015's Cradle For The Wanting — that have added depth to his unique musical chemistry. His forthcoming full-length Centres continues that enrichment, offering 13 heavily textured pieces that combine emotional melodies with the wonder of audio experimentation.

"The Nearness" is a perfect example of Craig's template, and of the way he can make such a simple formula feel so alive. It opens with a lone accordion accompanying Craig's scale-climbing croon. After establishing this intoxicating melody, Craig rearranges its DNA, morphing into soft, sweet chords, then heavy, rumbling drone. Finally, the accordion surfaces alone again, marching off into the distance. Despite all the turns, the piece seems shorter than its eight-minute duration — yet also feels timeless. It seems Craig is tapping into a well of sonic creativity that might never run dry.

Centres comes out July 8 on the Fat Cat imprint 130701.

Purchase Featured Music

Buy Featured Music

Album
Centres
Artist
Ian William Craig
Label
Fat Cat
Released
2016

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?