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Grimes is the moniker of Canadian producer, singer and artist Claire Boucher. She approaches music in a way that is both sensually pleasurable and exploratory; sonic experimentalism run through a 'pop' filter. The music is youthfully schizophrenic and searching, a voyage into the yet undefined territory of post-internet, re-spiritualized sound. Grimes strongly values a physical and communal experience of music (it's danceability), experimental vocalization, and psychedelia. Grimes is self-indulgence, devastation and ecstasy. humanity, spirituality, escapism, identity, reality.
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I found Grimes one day on accident during an Odyssey through YouTube in a video of her performing at SXSW. Her presence, fearlessness in creativity and self-expression are beautiful and an inspiration.
This album is wonderful! I highly recommend it...even to people who wouldn't normally listen to this kind of music!
Be forewarned, though: Grimes' voice is probably not going to appeal to a broad audience. She often sings in a pretty high register, or in a breathy whimper, and it takes a little while for the ear to appreciate her vocal talents. Her voice is actually remarkably versatile- sometimes she sounds like the Sundays' Harriet Wheeler, other times she sounds like Enya, and sometimes even, Stacy Q. The voice is the key component of her musical arsenal, though. She does all kinds of things with her voice, sampling it, looping it, putting it through a delay, using it as a percussive instrument. Coupled with her impressive studio talents, and her ear for melody, it is a potent weapon.
Overall, Visions is a truly powerful and memorable listening experience. Like a dark, rich beer, it does take a little getting used to. But if you are a patient listener in search of slightly different fare, you will likely find it a rewarding investment.
Update: After listening to it extensively on (legal) streaming, I decided to go ahead and buy a physical copy on CD, especially after someone said the packaging was great. I'm extremely disappointed, as the packaging is completely barebones. No insert, no lyrics, just a digipak and the physical disk. I'm somewhat glad I bought it because it lets me support the artist a little more directly, but this is not how you package a CD if you're trying to get people to still buy physical media.
Music: 5 stars
Actual CD of Visions: 1.5 stars
Be A Body is another obvious treat too, with it's electro ambient permutations and Boucher's sweetly synthetic falsetto, sending you off to some futuristic utopia. The rest of the album juggles similar sounds in different ways like Oblivions employment of noises you might find in an arcade somewhere in the early 90's. Than there's Nightmusic's snippets of neoclassical sounds that are neatly interwoven with the ambient synts and piano loops that are found all over this album. This music won't be for everybody i hasten to add and even though i'm fond of it, i found Grimes delicate patchwork of sounds to be a little too cutesy and adorable at times leaving some of the songs on here sounding merely pleasant and a little forgettable. Nevertheless i still found this a charming foray into a pop wonderland that felt pleasently familiar yet refreshingly novel, if your an electro pop fan it's definitely worth giving this a listen as your likely to really enjoy this.