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Music

Ian William Craig: Music For Magnesium_173 (digital, 130701, September 2022)

Ian William Craig is (sorry) one of those artists whose tracks keep getting thrown at me by recommendation engines, but never in a way that got my attention. I guess that’s the thing with algorithmic suggestions: you don’t get the context, and it’s a knight’s move away from any sense of curation, and if it plays the kind of music whose appeal takes a little work to winkle out then I find it hard to engage with it in the right way. Well, I don’t quite know what, but there was something about this album which grabbed me at first listen. And it’s kept me coming back and draws me in deeper each time.

From the outset and throughout, this is heady stuff. There’s a lot of abstract ambient crackling and pulsing going on, and a lot of staticky drone, and some things which might be field recordings, but the most striking element is Craig’s vocals, which mostly take the form of heavily processed falsetto chanting. At 78 minutes, this album long by modern standards, and if there’s a structure to it then I’ve yet to figure it out. Sometimes it seems to be building to a climax; sometimes it simply comes to a stop. Half the time I when I’m listening to it, I feel quite lost. I know what you’re thinking: none of this sounds good. And yet, I find the whole record quite captivating. Here’s the thing: this is music that is driven by an otherworldly logic that I really can’t explain, but somehow I can intuit; it makes sense. And when you just go with it, there is an almost transcendent loveliness.

(This is the soundtrack to a video game. I’m not a gamer, and other than the fact that it’s apparently something to do with quantum mechanics, I don’t really know anything about it, so I’m really just judging this as a piece of music.)

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Electronic.

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