Recommended Track'Genesis', 'Oblivion', 'Circumambient', 'Be A Body'
Claire Boucher, we’ve learned, doesn’t sleep. If there’s a reason for this – aside from the 23-year-old Canadian’s predilection for prescription drugs and the odd dab of speed – then it’s because of her insane work ethic; three albums and an EP since 2010 mean she’s simply no time to nap.
Subsequently, ‘Visions’ is an album imbued with both the zombie-like grogginess of insomnia and the dark-minded thoughts of the obsessive and overtired. Take, for example, the hissing choir of Grimeses that haunt ‘Nightmusic’’s eerie descent into a sample of celestial chamber music, or the spidery synths of ‘Genesis’ and the near-psychotic emotional detachment of ‘Oblivion’, a song that threatens it’ll “see you on a dark night”, most probably while moodily thumping a mace into its palm.
If not split, exactly, then ‘Visions’’ personality is certainly fractured. The ﬁrst handful of its 13 tracks dabble with the notion of Grimes as a macabre, bleaker incarnation of Glasser (‘Visiting A Statue’, ‘Be A Body’) – or maybe an amalgam of SoKo’s skittishness and the threatening electro vamp of Emika (‘Circumambient’) – whilst the latter half (‘Skin’ and ‘Know The Way’, along with ‘Symphonia…’ and ‘Nightmusic…’ in particular) segues into Balam Acab territory, favouring shimmery electro abstractions.
Grimes’ main trick with ‘Visions’, however, is the multiple ways she channels what is effectively the same idea – sparse, skeletal synths and a multitude of pitch-shifted alternate-selves – without it ever becoming boring. Does it get pretentious? Mmm… maybe. But it deﬁnitely doesn’t do dull.
From the atmosphere it ﬁrst conjures, then sustains, through its glum middle-distance glare and purple panda bags, ‘Visions’ is a cornucopia of Claire Boucher’s most vivid waking dreams. Gripping, then, but also as intangible as the prevailing dread of a forgotten nightmare.
Basically, we’ll not sleep well tonight. But at least then we’ll know how she feels…