Review : Grimes - Visions
SputnikmusicClaire Boucher has an affinity for in-between spaces. When describing her inspiration for a series of Mesoamerican and manga-inspired drawings she created as an art student at Montreal’s McGill University, she talked about existing outside the realm of ordinary confines. “I like creating a feeling of an intense void. Of being not in a place.” It’s fitting that one of her drawings adorns the cover of Visions, 23-year old Boucher’s fourth musical release in two years under her nom de guerre, Grimes. The singer’s synth-driven avant-pop possesses both an odd ghostliness and a powerful presence, a sense of occupying multiple creative spaces at once yet existing firmly in its own weird world.
Grimes’ exploration of futuristic pop realms has progressed rapidly from her murky experiments on 2010 debut Geidi Primes to the sharper, more luminous songs on the same year’s Halfaxa and the 2011 EP split Darkbloom. It all comes to new dazzling heights on Visions, an album that manages to sound brighter and more crystalline even as it plunges to greater depths. Boucher recorded Visions during a self-imposed three week period of deprivation from both sleep and natural light, and it mirrors her altered state. It establishes Grimes as a musician of extraordinary creative heft, a singer of remarkable nuance and range, and a force to be reckoned with at the unpredictable intersection of pop, dance, electronic, and indie music.
Grimes immediately embraces traditional pop forms on the album’s first two singles, “Genesis” and “Oblivion” --- though they still sound like their from outer space, they’re easily the most radio-friendly (and best) things she’s ever committed to record. “Genesis” injects warm inky jets of bass into a bed of angelic piano and strings as Boucher coos “Everything, everything, everything” over the album’s catchiest melody. During her tales of night time revelry on “Oblivion,” Boucher buries the delicious hook from Tommy and the Shondell’s pop classic “I Think We’re Alone Now” in an ocean of slinky, throbbing synths as she whispers “Coming up behind you/Always coming/And you never have a clue.” It’s an insidiously clever juxtaposition of the nocturnal creepiness with sunshine pop and a wonderful appropriation of something old into new....full text
PitchforkAs a child I feared the day the world would be taken over by robots; these days I am seized by a much more potent fear that I am becoming one. Digital interfaces invade our imagination in strange, tangible ways, and with each day I spend in front of my computer screen, the red Gchat dots representing my friends and co-workers start to look more and more like HAL. Have you ever caught yourself trying to open a new tab in your brain? Was the Wikipedia blackout of 2012 as important a cultural moment as the New York City blackout of '77? Do androids dream of electric sheep, or do you not have an app for that yet?
"Post-internet" is a term that's stuck all too easily (guilty as charged) to Grimes' airy cyborg-pop, thanks in part to her endless quotability in acknowledging the digital world's influence on her aesthetic ("The music of my childhood was really diverse because I had access to everything.") But Visions, the latest and best album from one-woman project of Montreal-based Claire Boucher, complicates the all-too-tidy "post-internet" tag by bringing into focus the many contrasts at the heart of her music: tensions between pop structure and diffuse atmosphere, between technology and the human body, between sensory-overloaded hyper-presence and transcendence. More solidly constructed and a lot more fun to listen to than anything she's put her name to so far, the electro cotton-candy of Visions is an inviting entrance into Grimes' peculiar kind of bliss....full text
DailyprincetonianThe much-anticipated Grimes album, Visions, began streaming on NPR yesterday and will be officially released February 21st, so it’s pretty fresh. Grimes is Claire Boucher, a Montreal-based artist who has previously produced two full-length albums and Darkbloom, an EP that NPR called “well-received,” but Visions will be her first release through 4AD, home of Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, St. Vincent, et al. The release has been getting a lot of attention lately, and, in my opinion, rightfully so. My thoughts after the jump.
Visions is a great accomplishment in the sense that it feels like a valid work of art, consciously constructed with a knowledge of her scene and influences. Apart from that, Grimes makes it sound like she had a good time creating it, and maybe this is why Visions sounds excitingly fresh and original. Even more remarkable is that this is Grimes’s third quality album in two years. Her debut Geidi Primes (which you can download for free – legally! - here), as well as her next album were generally well-received by critics, but I don’t think she’s had a very wide audience just yet. If you’re one of those who hasn’t heard of her before, now’s a great time to start....full text
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