‘The Heavy Steps Of Dreaming’ is the brilliant debut album from Vancouver-based Minor Pieces, a new songwriting partnership comprising acclaimed singer/composer Ian William Craig and newcomer Missy Donaldson, a singer and multi-instrumentalist. Retaining some of the textural play and experimentation of Ian’s solo material whilst channeling it squarely within the domain of tangible songwriting, the pair utilise guitar, modified tape decks, bass and synths to fashion deeply-felt songs with their beautifully matched male/ female vocals standing resolutely centre-stage. Taking influence and inspiration from the likes of Low, Grouper, Mazzy Star, Portishead, My Bloody Valentine, Talk Talk and Cat Power, ‘The Heavy Steps Of Dreaming’ sounds at once familiar whilst forging something new, unique and beyond the sum of its influences.
Over the course of its 8 tracks - from the opening bars of ‘Rothko’ to the resonant closing lines of ‘Shipbreaking’ - the duo move fluidly between voices, shift from moments of overwhelming power to perfect points of stillness; from acoustic balladry pared down to the sparsest of means to thick, tumbling swells of tape and electronics or billowing synth trails. At both album and song level, it’s a work of contrasts and combinations; of broad, bold dynamics. Masterfully crafted, the lyrics are rendered with an almost painterly approach and reveal a palpable joy in the richness of language and its capacity to conjure resonances, to hold moments close and to patch together meaning from life’s scattered detritus. What’s forged is a kind of Alt. Americana filtered through a progressive modern lens and the tactile, heavily processed tactics of Ian’s solo practice – an approach that links to the corrosive asethetics of electronic artists like Fennesz, William Basinski or The Caretaker.
2 This House
6 The Way We Are In Song
7 Tender Fire