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PREMIERE: Ian William Craig Streams New LP In Full
Christian Eede , March 17th, 2020 15:16

He's created a special album-length video for the stream ahead of the release this Friday, which you can watch below

With Ian William Craig's latest album, Red Sun Through Smoke, due out this Friday (March 20) via FatCat's 130701 sub-label, the full record is now streaming exclusively above via tQ.

The Canadian artist has produced a special album-length video of visuals to accompany the stream, with the full record clocking in at just over 40 minutes in total. Keep reading below for a full explanation of those visuals and how they relate to the themes explored on the album, as written by Ian William Craig himself.

The 12-track Red Sun Through Smoke was recorded over the course of two weeks in August 2018 in Kelowna, Canada, while the city was encircled by forest fires. Having committed to recording that month, Ian sought an alternative location in which to work, and opted to shift his gear across the province to set up a temporary studio space in the living room of a small house owned by his grandfather who was then living in a care facility across the street. Midway through the two-week recording, his grandfather passed away.

Recording at his grandfather's house gave Craig access to his piano, which features heavily across the record, alongside his voice, a shortwave radio set, several modified tape decks and a bunch of tape loops.

Ian William Craig on Red Sun Through Smoke and its accompanying visuals

"Analogue video is a process of continual refreshment. In contrast to film or digital media, which create the illusion of motion by stringing multiple still images together, video is drawn by a single beam of light that continually renders what it is we see on the screen. Each image is born into the present anew, whether stored or broadcast, and can never be the same way twice.

"The parallels between this manner of animation and the way in which humans construct and recollect memory I find very striking: we can only ever remember things in the unfolding present, and upon doing so change the memory forever by the very act of recall. Memory is in this way a continually active process, always drawing and redrawing itself. The circumstances under which Red Sun Through Smoke was recorded had everything to do with memory and its deterioration: I created the album at my grandfather’s house over a two week period as he slowly died from the forest-fire smoke filling the air. He had had dementia for some years, and by the end had become only a small ember of his former self. He filled with smoke both literally and figuratively. I wanted to find some way to visually empathize with his situation, and turned to video synthesis to attempt to explore it.

"My parents had found a cache of old family movies on VHS and Beta from my childhood with him in it. This store of video happened as well to have a great deal of footage from the Okanagan where the record was made, where my family and I used to spend summers in the 80s. Incredibly enough, they also found the camera the footage was recorded on, which I then nursed back to health. I then created a setup using CRT televisions, VCRs, the aforementioned camera, a video mixer and an analogue video synthesiser. Using the old footage as a basis, I used this equipment to disrupt and deteriorate the video signal in an attempt to conceive of what it is my grandfather must have experienced in those years of slowly having all of the stories in his world deteriorate.

"All of the imagery in this short film to accompany the record was generated using video synthesis and feedback, manipulated live to the music in manifold takes and edited down to what you see. Nothing has been digitally altered, simply stitched together from those original sessions. Here you’ll find the continually refreshing light of memory spills over the edge, recalibrates, overflows, forgets, turns dark and tries to begin again. I can’t imagine what it is life must have been like for my grandfather as he slowly faded into something else, but I hope this video honours his memory."

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