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Boomkat Product Review:
Ian William Craig turns in an emotionally pulpous soundtrack to quantum theory-inspired video-game Magnesium_173. Somewhere between Sigur Ros, Lyra Pramuk and William Basinski.
Vancouver-based singer and composer Ian William Craig has been turning out elegiac beauties for a decade now, alternating between Sean McCann's ace Recital imprint and FatCat's 130701. "Music for Magnesium_173" draws Craig in a slightly different direction, having been written to accompany the Steam-released "Magnesium_173", an independent video-game from Graham Johnson released last summer. Heavily delayed while in development, the game was stalled back in 2018 leading Craig to release the "Thresholder" EP with material originally intended for the score. He subsequently wrote new tracks which were lost when his computer was stolen; this final set of tracks was constructed using some remaining stems and old Logic projects.
Inspired by quantum mechanics, the game itself is a puzzler that expects the player to explore its unconventional world, so was designed with the music in mind as a crucial part of the experience. Craig approaches the challenge by creating a coherent musical landscape that plays to his strengths. His vocals are the emotional core, backed up by modular synth drones processed with tape saturation and mechanical grit. The early tracks, like soaring opener 'Blue Suit Glitch' and 'Viridian' do a good job of setting the scene, dissolving Sigur Ros-style coos into ferric muck and the occasional oscillator freakout. But it's when the album settles into its own pace that it hits its peak: 'Sentimental Drift' is the eye of the duck, a slow-moving choral micro-epic that burns with the frothy passion of Lyra Pramuk's "Fountain", complete with with tear-inducing bass harmonies.