Ian William Craig

Ian William Craig’s work involves pushing vintage reel-to-reel tape decks to their physical limits, often through modification or manipulation. The tape that runs through them is then oversaturated to create unpredictable, yet beautiful, distortion and noise. The element of chaos produced by the manipulated machines, is then contrasted with meticulously crafted keyboards and intricately harmonized vocals. For his residency at Western Front, Ian will be exploring the AC Bias of his tape machines. Sending a blasting sine wave in the inaudible range of human hearing, at 40,000-150,000 HZ (the keys on a piano, for comparison, range from 27.5 HZ to 4186 Hertz) the AC Bias forces newly recorded sounds onto the magnetic tape, making them audible. Typically, artists like the recordings to be as noise free and distortion free as possible, but by electronically manipulating the bias so that it runs below 40,000HZ, Ian turns this desire on it’s head, and new distortion and sounds are created.

Artist biography

Born in Edmonton, Canada in 1980, Ian William Craig grew up playing in a jazz choir and rock bands at high school, followed by an immersion in musical theatre and the choral tradition while studying printmaking at the University of Alberta. After being exposed to drone-based music he began exploring his own path as a vocalist and sound artist.

After moving to Vancouver following his studies, Ian began creating albums self-releasing his first recordings via Bandcamp between 2011 and 2013. Signing to FatCat’s post-classical imprint 130701, Ian’s debut album for the label, Centres, was released in July 2016 to widespread critical acclaim, and was followed by his debut UK/European tour. The album made numerous end of year lists, including Rolling Stone and New York Times. Ian’s most recent album, Red Sun Through Smoke, was recorded in the midst of forest fires in Kelowna in August of 2018, while his grandfather, whose lungs were affected by the smoke, was moved into palliative care. Red Sun Through Smoke, was released in March of 2020, at the beginning of the world-wide pandemic.