Friday, September 18, 2020

MEET… Grimes

Grimes - Visions Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

Claire Elise Boucher (born March 17 1988)—known professionally as Grimes—is a Canadian musician, singer, producer, composer and visual artist. Born and raised in Vancouver, Grimes began releasing music independently at the end of the 2000s, releasing her debut Geidi Primes initially only on tape in the Montreal warehouse scene. 

With four albums to her name since, Boucher has only moved from strength to strength, evolving into the Grimes we know today.

The music and work of Grimes is an intricate crafting and interweaving of the artist’s influences, a dream-like escapade through worlds of pop, high-hitting electronic production and hip-hop. Both a question and answer to the misogynistic music culture that sees women both pitted against one another and in a constant position of needing to prove their technical ability, a somewhat tortured relationship with visibility has played a large part in her career to date. However, from Geidi Primes to Miss Anthropocene, Boucher has forged her very own place within the industry; a pop star but very much on her own terms.

Despite proudly proclaiming her early work ‘post-internet’, since emerging over ten years ago from Montreal’s DIY art and music scene, Boucher has cultivated a distinctive and enduring online presence, a space for both her music and haunting visual art alike. With the release of her debut album Geidi Primes — a somewhat slight album clocking in at just under the 30-minute mark — and the heart-achingly brief Darkbloom split EP, Grimes set herself firmly apart from the crowd. Despite the modest production and relative simplicity in comparison with her later work, it is a strong, capable and directed debut — an indicator not only of how far she has come since but the artist’s raw talent from the start.

Moving in a world of ethereal gloom-scapes, Halfaxa demonstrates further still the artist’s disassociation from typical forms, her arrangements dancing through dizzy states and transcending genre to create something truly unique. Summoning the spirit of late hip-hop artists and channelling the industrial throughout, from Enya- channelling Devon to Weregild, Halfaxa has both a beguiling beauty and enduring strength that only confirmed Boucher’s place in the world of progressive pop.

Subsequently signing with 4AD, she rose to fame with the release of her third studio album, Visions, in 2012, receiving the Juno Award for Electronic Album of the Year later that year.

Art Angels — Boucher’s fourth record as Grimes and arguably her most audacious to that point — heralds the artist’s views on the misogynistic music culture surrounding her; an eloquent answer to the argument that women in pop are merely frames for the male producer. Both beckoning us towards the dancefloor while resisting the forever simplistic notions of who and what a female performer can be on a record or stage, Art Angel’s 14 tracks are the amalgamation and articulation of a pop vision that is undeniably the artist’s own. Driven by a fascination of the interplay between the synthetic and unreal, here Boucher begins to close the gap between the pop icons she has idolised and what she is truly capable of.

Despite the 5-year break, Miss Anthropocene—Grimes’ fifth and most recent inter- galactic offering—only further proves this, continuing in Art Angel’s addictive and upbeat footsteps and using her fantastical lenses of villainy, pop and iconography to engage with the reality of the climate crisis. Incorporating references to her relationship with tech billionaire Elon Musk (the subject of 4 Æ M), Grimes has described the sound as “ethereal nu metal,” and the vibe could be considered more honest to the public persona over the past decade; it is the album of an artist truly in her own skin.

With this fresh burst of music after a 5-year break, we can’t wait for what this progressive force of an artist has in store.

- Louise Goodger


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