In a Word, the sixteenth installment of the intergenerational collaboration series FRKWYS, brings together composer Daniel Lentz and vocalist and sound artist Ian William Craig for an album that embraces erosion and the potential of its loam left behind. A major figure in American composition, Daniel Lentz has worked at the middle and margins of postminimalism for more than four decades. A pioneer of live multitrack recording with the Daniel Lentz Group, he frequently writes for ensembles of similar instruments, from choirs to string orchestras to glass harmonicas. Like his west coast colleagues Harold Budd and Ingram Marshall, Lentz composes music of slow changes, built on fundamental harmonies and rhythms that evoke vast spaces and deep, ancient stone.
Canadian artist Ian William Craig combines his classically trained voice with precarious technologies: homemade analog synths, altered reel-to-reel machines, and faulty tape decks. His solo albums, including the acclaimed Centres (2016) and, more recently, Red Sun Through Smoke (2020), document a haunted nostalgia. In contrast to Lentzs (sometimes) radical expansiveness, Craigs music is fragile and self-consciously created alone, using his customized machination to create warped nocturnes of melody and dissonance. The sessions for In a Word took place in the Santa Barbara home studio of engineer Dick Dunlap. For both musicians the experience was an exploration toward each other. Craig with his rickety tape decks, Lentz sat at a grand piano. Lentz was immediately enchanted by Craigs voice and equipment: With the first note he sang, I was hooked. The beauty of his voice and his unique analog looping setup, all compacted into a small suitcase, were both remarkable and always surprising in what they could do. The music emerged spontaneously from simple, even cautious beginnings.