The Dream Extortionists
Recorded between 2005 and 2017 on a 1904 Steinway baby grand in the French village of Cogny, an 1899 Blüthner at Studio Slaughterback in London and an unknown, earthquake-tuned piano at the Ice Cream Studio in Tokyo, this album is a dark and disturbing trip through the decaying and decadent last days of human civilisation, in an overpopulated world where nothing works, nobody is content, and the masses are controlled by a handful of billionaires intent solely on not sharing their dubiously acquired wealth, along with a smaller handful of high-tech megacorps intent solely on owning, tracking, watching and manipulating everything we do - The Dream Extortionists.
Some tracks feature the piano as a simple solo instrument, but often it is heavily processed and accompanied by electronic and orchestral textures, voices, and, at one point, even a spaghetti-western guitar to alter the musical landscape. Melody is key, however, albeit as the melancholic soundtrack the Ballard-esque titles would suggest. In any case, it's about time that 'gothic chill-out' became a genre...
Ian Williams started out in the 1980s as a founder of Beautiful Pea Green Boat, whose ethereal, atmospheric sound pre-dated the current vogue for dream pop. More recently, he has worked with singer Claudia Barton as Gamine, releasing two albums of dark, piano-led torch songs and lullabies.
He has also collaborated with Lebanese choreographer Joumana Mourad's dance company, Ijad, during which time he produced music for several productions, developing a hybrid Arabic / classical / techno / ambient style.
Electronic Sound magazine, Issue 52, April 2019 by Push
http://www.whisperinandhollerin.com/reviews/review.asp?id=14647 April 2019 by Christopher Nosnibor
May 2019 by Megan Duce