So this is my first double album feature! This means nothing.
Ian released “Centres” in 2016 and “Slow Vessels” in 2017, but this later release is a sister album to the first. He doesn’t say this shit outright. He doesn’t say much of anything anymore (he used to back in the day). But, it’s a sister album, it’s just something Ian does. He did it before in 2012 with the albums “Heretic Surface” and “Cloudmarks”, and in 2014 with “Short of Breath” and “Turn of Breath”. The guy is just really into sisters. And with all the same songs being on both albums, I can say with somewhat certainty that these albums are sisters. So, now onto some hot twin action.
Ian is classically trained (opera I’m guessing) and has a choirboy type of voice, but that’s not what makes Ian interesting (even though his falsetto is of a 10-year-old angel virgin on a euphoric mushroom high mid-orgasm). On “Centres” Ian uses manipulative tape loop techniques put through different decks, distortions, and a whole bunch of other crazy shit to create a textural mapping. “Centres” is made up of textures upon textures upon textures. He’ll record an original song, put it onto tape, and then put that tape through a fuckton of shit. It’s called process music. It’s electroacoustic music. It’s whatever fucking label you want to throw at it. But, in the end, it’s some of the most interesting music you’ll hear. With “Slow Vessels”, he takes out all that jumble and mess and exposes the same songs naked and bare, or as best as he can. Some artists hide behind process. They focus more on “how” than “what”. When you strip away their texture there is nothing left. But with Ian, it’s obvious to see that these songs were put through a process to make them more honest in a new way, not more hidden. He’s not trying to hide his voice. Fuck, why would he? Have you heard that fucking shit yet? He’s telling a truth on these albums. And this truth just happens to require some acid bleaching and destruction in the process of their recording. It’s part of it. It’s evanescent.
Centres and Slow Vessels are great winter albums (all of Ian’s albums are). These two albums are fucking majestic side by side. With more focus on his vocals than on his piano (earlier albums) these albums are cerebral and introspective. They take you places you didn’t even know you wanted to go, and then you never want to leave. Leave it to a fucking Canadian to make an album that works well with winter and falling snow.