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."
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 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.
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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.
How so? 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.
Grimes performs Thursday, March 1, at Dan's Silverleaf. Born Gold and Peopleodian open. Or catch her at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at Good Records, and then stick around for performances from Diamond Age and Nervous Curtains at 8 p.m.