Grimes – Visions (4AD)
March 7, 2012 by Daniel Gill
Claire Boucher has been breezing in and out of the blogosphere for the past couple of years. She’s the girl behind dark electronic music act Grimes, an intelligent 23 year old Canadian who scrapped in her studies at university to go on the road and devote her life to music. She’s devoted to it so much she went through total sensory deprivation to record music in her bedroom for this third release titled Visions. The results equal an album which could have only come from one person’s psyche. A whirlwind of sounds and melodies that you can actually imagine her brain making when being such a lonely recluse.
Visions is an artist’s album, the kind of album which doesn’t follow any stereotypes or older footsteps. It’s an album which succeeds because of Boucher’s one idea; the payoff for the listener is delving into a musician’s mind instead of her pockets. She is said to be a big fan of rap music and heavy rock but there are no influences here, the 2pac t-shirts and Cradle of Filth t-shirts she wears in her performances are nothing to do with what’s happening on stage. This means it’s actually hard to place a label on her. It’s just Grimes. She makes Grimes music.
If there is any kind of influence at all to Boucher’s music, its K-pop, and this is something she has admitted. Her vocals are audibly mesmerising, hitting the highest of high notes and then smoothly adopting a soft angelic tone which is almost childlike; ‘Oblivion’ is a perfect example of this. She has a siren’s singing voice, which she uses to draw you in. It’s something that may be off-putting to some people at first, but her delicately constructed vocals, which seem to be her main selling point, will eventually win you over.
It appears Boucher’s image is just as important as her music; they both come together in a fantastic fashion. The weirdness from her image seems to be incorporated into this album, and her music in general. She’s the girl that you see in a dark grimy nightclub with the strange haircut and the over-the-top dancing (just watch any of Grimes’ videos), the girl who you can’t stop staring at but would never approach. It’s better to keep it this way, there’s intrigue and mystery in Boucher’s music and you don’t want to know too much. It may spoil your mind set when listening to her.
That dark electronica which Boucher creates in Visions has a cybotic ambience to it, a style which is somewhat alien in its construction. The song titles throughout the album exemplify this too- the kind of titles that would immediately cause a red line to appear if you wrote them on a computer: ‘Circumambient’, ‘Vowels = Space and Time’ and ‘Symphonia IX (my wait is u)’ are all something that make sense in the musical brain of Grimes, but for the listener they just pose another question that you may or may not want to know the answer to.
Visions is aptly titled for the arrival of Grimes’ third album, as this is the musical representation and visualisation of a girl named Claire Boucher. She hasn’t tried to be anything yet, and to some this may seem like an album in the teething period for Boucher as an artist. Maybe it’s too complicated structurally and there may be few hooks to sing along to, but this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill album that only wants to bounce in and out the charts. Opening up Visions is like opening someone’s mind… something rare that you get in music nowadays.