Monday, 21 May 2012
Grimes' 'Visions' (with a bit of a speculation on the music industry)
Released in March, this intensely electronica and simultaneously relaxed record spills influences from Bjork, the darkest corners of dubstep and electronica.
I love that such a large sound has been produced by a solo artist. Is this the future of EDM? Is this the future of the no longer existent bedroom-based-singer/songwriter? It would now appear that we expect musicians to be songwriters, DJs and producers as some kind of musical all in one. With artists such as Grimes, SBTRKT, Deadmau5, Jamie XX and Burial as well as top dogs Calvin Harris and David Guetta - the all in one music maker has some heavy burdens to carry over and above being able to strum a few chords. To produce tracks, or to even leap from the springboard into this kind of industry the music maker/DJ/producer needs good equipment, some kind of alter ego or persona (see Grimes with her eye on her head, Deadmau5 with his Mau5-head or Feed Me with his massive smile-one stage) as well as the expectations of recording their own stuff to get noticed in the first place AND perform it all live to sustain their popularity. In other words....it's HARD to break the scene with a modest budget and no plug sockets.
That by no means says Grimes isn't a good musician. Her vocals are hypnostising and spectacularly eery which fuse well with the delicate keys and pads of the tracks. The illegibility of lyrics is one, insignificant problem. But, the fact that she can deliver these vocal lines live speaks volumes. Catchy riffs, intense harmonies 'Skin' and 'Colour of Moonlight (Antiochus)' create a mature evolution in the tracks way beyond this 23 year old's career.
I find myself frowning in trying to understand the complexities of the melachonic shape of chords and harmonies (Skin). All I can feel is pain. Does it matter how she gets there with repetitive drum loop and lonely guitar melody? No. Other similar tracks include; 'Eight' all which speak volumes in dictating mood and emotion. Why should music always be so blatant?
Pop-ier tracks 'Genesis', 'Be A Body' and 'Oblivion' have a bubble bass line that is a venerable, potential victim for re-mixes. With 80s effects (including sweep pads, an old school drum track and tons of reverb) threaded into the various instrumental parts (especially in 'Oblivion') its hard to slap a genre sticker onto this track. I'm going to have a go anyway and say neo electronica pop? Yes. That sounds good enough to me.
I hope that this is an album which sticks with me long term and isn't a fad or phase. With the rise of electronic music I'm sure Grimes will become a key leader of the pack to a more alternative approach to synthesised sounds.
Fave tracks: Genesis, Oblivion and Be A Body.
Like Grimes? Try SBTRKT .