Album release: February 21 (USA) / March 9 (Germany) / March 12, 2012 (UK)
Record Label: Arbutus Records Canada / 4ad
Birth name: Claire Boucher
Born: March 17, 1988, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Released: January 31, 2012 (Canada)
Recorded: August 2011
Genre: Dream pop, electronic, experimental
01. Infinite Love Without Fulfillment 1:36
02. Genesis 4:15
03. Oblivion 4:12
04. Eight 1:48
05. Circumambient 3:43
06. Vowels = Space and Time 4:21
07. Visiting Statue 1:59
08. Be a Bod 4:20
09. Colour of Moonlight (Antiochus) (featuring Doldrums) 4:00
10. Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U) 4:53
11. Nightmusic (featuring Majical Cloudz) 5:03
12. Skin 6:09
13. Know the Way 1:45
14. Christmas Song (featuring Jay Worthy) 2:58
Amazon MP3 bonus track:
14. Angel 1:22
Canadian 12” vinyl:
1. Oblivion 4:12
2. Eight 1:48
3. Circumambient 3:43
4. Life After Death (Canadian vinyl exclusive track) 2:48
5. Nightmusic (featuring Majical Cloudz) 5:03
6. Ambrosia (Canadian vinyl exclusive track) 3:31
7. Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U) 5:53
8. Genesis 5:15
9. Skin 6:09
Chart (2012) / Peak position:
• US Billboard 200 # 98
• US Dance/Electronic Albums # 8
• US Independent Albums # 13
• US Alternative Albums # 17
• “An astounding record.” — The Observer
• “A glitchy shimmering dance record.” — MOJO (4/5)
• “Visions gestures skyward and beyond.” — Pitchfork (8.5 — Best New Music)
• “You’ll have to search long and hard to find a more original and distinctive album this year.” — Q (4/5)
• “Fit to burst with bone~bending synths, insistent beats and a sometimes shrill vocal that manages to both charm and unsettle.” — The Guardian (4/5)
• “Easily Ms. Boucher’s best work and one of the most impressive albums of the year so far.” — New York Times
• “13 perfect moments” — NME (8/10 — Album of the Week)
• Grimes’ new record Visions is officially released outside of North America today, having debuted in the Billboard Top 100 on its release in the US three weeks ago.. // ♦♦♦ 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.
• The work of Claire Boucher, Grimes is a project that has gained notoriety since its inception back in early~2010. Moving to Montreal from Vancouver in 2006, she developed Grimes among the city’s burgeoning DIY scene; a scene where both punk ethos and pop music collide. Visions is her fourth release in less than two years and countless shows have been performed in this time, both helping to build much intrigue as to what’s next.
• With her creative bent being both musical and visual, she draws on the arts of 2D, performance, dance, video and sound, weaving them all together to strong rhythmic effect, incorporating influences as wide as Enya, TLC and Aphex Twin, whilst drawing from genres like New Jack Swing, IDM, New Age, K~pop, Industrial and glitch. The result is a record that is both otherworldly and futuristic.
• At 23, DJ and producer Claire Boucher has already released two full~length albums and the well~received Darkbloom EP in less than two years. Boucher, who records under the name Grimes, emerged from the Montreal DIY loft~space~turned~record label Arbutus. Her GarageBand~assembled assortment of vocal loops, dark beats and twisted effects sound as if they're meant to be enjoyed predominantly at night — or maybe under a single shaft of sunlight that breaks through to the dark corners of a dance floor.
• Visions, out Feb. 21, is Grimes’ first for the prominent 4AD label. Its dreamy, psychedelic dance-pop songs beg for the subwoofer to be turned all the way up. But they remain grounded in her voice, which leaps easily into a lofty falsetto; it’s almost adolescent at times, like Aqua has been practicing with Mariah Carey. Boucher plays with her vocal and technical abilities, looping and piling up wails, purrs and sighs. She expresses feelings through wordless syllables, used for how they sound rather than to convey meaning. “Vowels = Space and Time,” replete with these vocal runs, provides one of the album's most alluring moments.
• After a short intro, Visions kicks in with “Genesis,” with its moody bass melody and shimmering synth line swelling and giving way to Boucher’s delicate voice. Then “Oblivion” draws you in with its fleshy, propulsive beat and a melody that calls back to Tiffany’s version of “I Think We’re Alone Now” as Boucher tantalizingly sings, “I’ll see you on a dark night.” Songs like these provide an irreverent soundtrack to late, sweaty evenings, but Visions is worth a whirl in headphones, too. Boucher plays games with panning her sounds — whether it’s hocketing her own vocal „oohs“ from channel to channel or dragging a sound of scraping metal from right to left in “Circumambient.” This technique gives her songs a sense of movement, an element of sound design that should satisfy the audiophile, while those in it for the beats ought to find plenty to keep up the energy.
• As the album progresses, Boucher’s songs take a turn toward the contemplative. A requiem for a bygone lover, the sensual “Skin” presents her as both robotic (“Soft skin / You touch me with it / So I know I can be human once again”) and deeply emotional (“You act like nothing ever happened / But it meant the world to me”). Visions reveals Boucher to be a promising young artist and producer with a clear vision. Her work from here on out will be worth close attention.
by Eleanor Kagan // npr
A third LP to savour from the distinctive Canadian artist.
Lou Thomas 2012~03~05
• Claire Boucher claims not to own a mobile phone. Judging by her musical output and interviews under her Grimes moniker, this is the only luddite move she has ever made, as the Montreal~based artist has again delivered some fascinating and healthily progressive music on Visions, her third album.
• When not writing and recording, Boucher is happy to discuss her love of OutKast, fellow on~the~up Canadians Drake and The Weeknd and even London’s future garage champion Blawan, who she hopes to work with. As is apt for someone with such a range of tastes, Visions covers a range of moods across its 13 tracks — but, crucially, it’s rarely less than thrilling.
• After a short and snappily robotic intro reminiscent of something Aaliyah might have recorded with Fever Ray, single Genesis kicks things off. Boucher’s exquisite falsetto rolls over simple synth melodies, thudding bass and crisp beats more at home on a pirate radio station. Oblivion, another brilliant single, is next and is a perfect companion piece to Genesis. It’s got a future-pop beat, a verse melody that sounds like Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now and a whirling synth that could well summon carsickness.
• Things take a swift left turn on Eight, a terrifying Cocteau Twins~go~dubstep number that will may have listeners sleeping with the light on for a fortnight, before hitting the album’s best tune. On Circumambient Boucher sings, “Oh baby I can’t say / That everything is okay,” while a beat seemingly stolen from 90s Prince and echoing, overlapping synths fight it out for sonic supremacy. Vowels = Space and Time includes more vocal acrobatics, but pulls right back from the darkness and gleams like a daytime radio hit in waiting, before Visiting Statue is Madonna’s Live to Tell reinterpreted by Little Dragon at their most mischievous.
• Boucher freely admits that Colour of Moonlight is built on the When Doves Cry beat, but it is a fine song in its own right. Later, Nightmusic (featuring Majical Cloudz, aka Devon Welsh, Boucher’s boyfriend) is big on sinister atmosphere yet never portentous.
• There are lots of great ideas bursting out all over Visions. It’s an essential culmination of Boucher’s hard work in creating a mysterious yet distinct and exciting musical identity. It combines the vocal and textural brilliance of Braids’ Native Speaker album with the punch of contemporary underground dance music and the pop nous of the best commercial RnB. One to savour. ©Photo credit: David J. Romero