It always amazes me that with technology today, a single musician can loop, layer, and envelop their vocals with music to the point where you can’t tell if it’s one person or a full band, and Claire Boucher can really pull this off. The Vancouver native, more commonly known as Grimes, is a woman of many talents in the sphere of electronic music. She creates her own album covers, directs and choreographs her music videos.
Visions dropped in February via UK label 4AD, but it has had a bewitching effect on my ears ever since. Recorded alone in Boucher’s bedroom, Visions stays true to her haunting, baby-voiced trademark of lo-fi dance music. Compared to Boucher’s past releases, Visions stands above them all with the satisfaction of placing the final puzzle piece down on everything she’s worked up to. It’s a breath of fresh air, pulling you out of the mud and straight up to the clouded heavens.
Less gloomy than her first albums, Visions is a blissfully clean and rhythmic release. It has influences of R&B, ambient and upbeat sounds, all intertwined with her falsetto voice that has the range of an electronic extraterrestrial. The album’s intro, “Infinite Love Without Fulfillment,” is a charming loop of electro-pop beats and female vocals comparable to some of the late 80s. “Skin,” the longest track on Visions, is a tantalizing and slow-but-sexy listen, showing us a more romantic side of Grimes.
It’s hard to pick a favorite track, and when I try I find myself listening to the entire album in some sort of electronic pop-synth blackout, rubbing my eyes afterwards as I ask myself, “What just happened?” Visions is almost a sneak peak to the fantastical universe of sounds that Grimes is capable of, and there’s no doubt that her imagination is already cooking up the next big thing.
I’m very happy that electronic music has really started to embrace repetitive minimalism over heavy drops and chaotic smorgasbords of sounds, and Grimes is where I want to be as music’s future unravels.