Boomkat Product Review:
‘Thresholder’ is another magisterial offering from Ian William Craig on FatCat’s 130701 sub-label, leading on from the ‘Centres’  album and a pair of 2017 singles with the Canadian artist’s signature sense of tempered ecstasy.
Now established as a significant figure in the cross-over fields between modern classical, ambient, and the avant-garde, Craig’s music speaks to the spaces between matter, and the gulf between waking and dreaming life, so we could hardly imagine a more apt title than ‘Thresholder’ for this, his most captivating and perhaps definitive album since he emerged as an elemental force in 2012 with ‘Cloudmarks’.
Most strikingly, ‘Thresholder’ shares an uncanny amount in common with the processed classical arrangements, rough grained textures and disjointed timelines of Akira Rabelais’ ‘eisoptrophobia’. But, where Rabelais’ music is fascinated with finding the new in old music, Craig makes new music sound timelessly old and out of place through his own, patented application of FX and field recordings onto original instrumentation.
With ‘Thresholder’ he pushes this aesthetic to a logical new extent to realise some of his most extreme, beautiful recordings to date. Operating right on the liminal biting point, he brings our hairs stand on end across 10 poignant pieces that make central use of wandering, operatic vocals that flicker like marbled beacons diffused into the dense, rolling haar of his arrangements. One will struggle more than ever to pick out individual tones from his smudged masses, but that’s maybe the point, to induce the listener to perceive his music from the middle distance, rather than focussed in or zoomed out.
In effect he subliminally encourages the listener to totally inhabit his ecologies of mulched flora and inclement conditions, allowing his uniquely stressed, warbling, surreal world to gloriously paint itself in mud, leaves, branches and drizzle on the back of your eyelids.