Exclaim!'s Top 10 Improv & Avant-Garde Albums Best of 2016

Ian William Craig
You can just hear Ian William Craig's mom now: "Honey, you have such a beautiful voice, why are you trying to bury it under all that noise?" But the true appeal of Centres, the third LP from the Edmonton experimentalist, lies not just within his beautiful voice or even all that noise — it's all about the specific type of texture Craig chooses to construct.
Yes, it's true that the 36-year-old uses faulty and decrepit tape machines to create his end-days recordings (which is nothing new; see William Basinski) alongside electronic-tinged classical arrangements (see also Hauschka), but there's something about Craig's utter dedication to modifying and fucking with every note and every element that makes this 13-track LP so absorbing. Ian William Craig's tactile obsession with sound gives Centres' sweeping moments an eerie feel, its stoic moments an urgent feel. Every vocal comes off like an angelic drone, while every drone sounds like nothing less than the absolute logical choice.
Daniel Sylvester