Twenty-One Blank Words

Free to attend.
Register for a 45-minute time window by following a link below.

Feb 26, 8 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Feb 27, 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Feb 28, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Ian William Craig modifies and manipulates vintage reel-to-reel tape decks, pushing these machines to their physical limits. Analogue tape becomes oversaturated with sound, creating unpredictable, beautiful distortion and noise. This is then contrasted with meticulously-crafted keyboards and intricately-harmonized vocals.

While in residence at Western Front, Craig has experimented with spatalising the outputs of four tape machines in the Grand Luxe Hall. After creating an initial sound world, the piece becomes self perpetuating: sound feeds back from the speakers through microphones and again through the tape, generating new sounds that repeat the process. Visitors are invited to enter the space and experience this work in progress. This presentation is the first iteration of several developments of this project, which Craig will be involved with at Western Front.

Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, capacity is limited and reservations are required in advance of visiting. Face masks are mandatory, and we ask you to use the hand sanitiser provided on arrival and to maintain social distancing throughout your visit (2 metres distance from one another, except for household groups who can remain together). All audience members are asked to self-assess before visiting. If you are not feeling well, please do not attend. The windows in the Grand Luxe Hall will also be open; please dress accordingly.


Born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1980, Ian William Craig grew up performing in a jazz choir and in rock bands in 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, Craig began to create albums, self-releasing his first recordings via Bandcamp between 2011 and 2013. Upon 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 in Rolling Stone and The 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 2020, at the beginning of the world-wide pandemic.

Western Front acknowledges the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Government of Canada, British Columbia Arts Council, Province of British Columbia, City of Vancouver and SOCAN Foundation.