By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
On "Circumambient," a track from 23-year-old Claire Boucher's latest album, Visions, she sings, "Oh baby I can't say/ That everything is OK/ Cause I have problems/ And I don't know how to solve them." The Montreal musician's third full-length and first for 4AD navigates body and mind in order to solve those problems, a digital approximation of Nietzsche's axiom: "If you look long enough into the void, the void begins to look back through you."
Boucher, who performs as Grimes, made a pretty deep cut with Visions. She sits at the other end of the dance floor from Robyn, her layered electro jams and pitch-shifted vocals transcending a bedroom-made feeling of loneliness for maximum club appeal.
"I love dancing," she says on a tour stop in California. "It makes me feel human."
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Feeling human is sort of the crux of the album, and while you don't have to listen too closely to enjoy her digitized R&B, she comments in her own way on the "post-Internet" feel of her songs. I asked her a bit about that mind-body connection.
From the cover to the subject matter, there seems to be a feeling of claustrophobia on the album, which of course could come from the fact that you recorded at home.
Most of the art I make is kind of depressing. It was all made in the same period of time. I didn't really leave the room when I was making it, for about three weeks. So I guess there's a desperation that's audible, if that kind of sentiment can be audible.
Were you in existential crisis?
Well, yes, but that's all the time.
There seems to be a bodily fixation — "Skin," "Be a Body," the title of the album.
I wanted to make an album about physicality that was still digital. Does that make sense? Sorry, I just woke up and I'm probably not articulating myself very well.
Well, I was actually talking to someone about this recently: How iPods and iPhones and that kind of technology is getting smaller and smaller, and eventually there'll just be a contact lens ...
They've invented that! You can look online and check it out. It exists. But it costs like $30,000,00 and no one has one. It probably belongs to a university or a lab.
I believe it. The conversation was more about how eventually we won't need the machines because we'll be the machines.
I think we are. I basically consider myself a cyborg.
I rely heavily on the Internet for all my social interactions, and touring and getting around. If we didn't have an iPhone we'd be fucked. I think my whole generation is the same way.
So you're very comfortable making music strictly via electronics.
Oh, yeah. Without it, I wouldn't make music. I'm completely reliant on software and synthesizers. I don't play an instrument. Maybe I could sing in a choir, but that's it.
WEBHEAD: Grimes' Cyborg Visions
WHO/WHAT: Grimes | Claire Boucher | Dan's Silverleaf | Good Records