In anticipation of a limited vinyl run of his recently released debut album, A Turn of Breath, minimalist composer Ian William Craig just put up a stream of his song “Either Or”. As one might expect from a minimalist composer, “Either Or” is ambient, experimental, and tries to do as much as it can with as few pieces as possible. The interesting thing about the song and the album is that Craig also happens to be a classically trained opera singer, and many of his songs features his vocal talents, usually in some understated fashion.
In “Either Or” there’s no beat to latch onto and no rhythm to dance to, just shiftless melodies drifting by on what sounds like the wind. Like the wind, the song swells and fades as the sounds of what could be a piano bubble through the lo-fi quality of the reel-to-reel used for the recording. The only real melody on the track is supplied by the choral arrangements, which feature rumbling low-ends and smooth mid-ranges that sound like some kind of minimalist Gregorian chant. According to Craig, the lyrics are taken from influential minimalist composer John Cage’s writings in Silence–which makes sense as they’re every bit as ethereal and mysterious as Cage’s work.
You can stream “Either Or” below and check out A Turn of Breath on Recital Records: