Grimes/Claire Boucher thread

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tbh I totally experience all those things in the music - post-internet identity (in her presence and in the flow of influences, and stuff about 'being a body' etc in the face of all this). the slight thinness, 'emptiness' to her voice (although it has a lot of substance/emotional resonance for me, but there is certainly a faintness/ethereal quality) is a part of this too - to my experience of it at least

Chris S, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

My sense of this album is that its intimacy feels internalised, as if Boucher is singing to herself (I'm using "to" in a strong sense here - like she's addressing herself) and the listener is posited as the part of her being sung to.

My reaction may be slightly overdetermined by how much she reminds me of Happy Rhodes in electronic mode - both vocally (with the high portion of Happy's register anyway) and musically, but also thematically - there's a kind of dasein vibe at work, which is maybe why so many of the songs also seem to be about the creative process itself, music about its own making (and perhaps as a general rule if you're not really enamoured of a musician's creative process then any oblique odes to it will seem to be about "nothing).

Tim F, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

My sense of this album is that its intimacy feels internalised, as if Boucher is singing to herself (I'm using "to" in a strong sense here - like she's addressing herself) and the listener is posited as the part of her being sung to.

...there's a kind of dasein vibe at work, which is maybe why so many of the songs also seem to be about the creative process itself, music about its own making

again, those are intriguing concepts, but i don't think they're strongly present in grimes' music/lyrics - at least no more so than in lots of other music. i mean, "dasein vibe" suggests so much, but specifically attaches to so little. grimes' songs tend to be less about doing than being, but that's as far as i can follow that train of thought wr2 what i actually hear here.

intimacy is a strange and loaded word in any context. i've realized recently that the quality i like best in several of the 2011 albums i was initially exposed to in the year-end poll thread is a quality of intense intimacy (referring primarily to colin stetson's new history warfare 2, julia holter's tragedy, king creosote & john hopkins' diamond mine and nicholas jaar's space is only noise). there's something a bit sickly and even oppressive about that kind of intimacy, an unfiltered, unmediated engagement that verges on oversharing. when you're close enough to hear the tongue moving in someone's mouth, see the contractions and dilations of their pupils, you might be too close for comfort. i don't get that sense at all from grimes, and therefore it's hard for me to think of her music as particularly "intimate". which perhaps does raise questions about what intimacy might be in a dephysicalized, delocated context, but i don't think this album really addresses them.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

that's interesting, Tim - it brings to mind the stuff she's said about wanting the be both the producer and the Star... the producer being a traditionally male role and the Star kind of being the inheritance of the classical Western role of the woman as object-to-be-seen-under-the-Male-Gaze. like, in John Berger's Ways of Seeing, in his chapter on the Male Gaze and the history of the representation of women in art, he describes how within women in this context, there can be an internal male judge viewing themselves as they are seen from without, and from this every action is performed with understanding that men are always seeing and rating.

and Boucher demonstrates that here, creating and performing herself, to herself (a viewership/listenership that also symbolizes the outside listener/viewer), but in taking more charge of the producer role and exposing the creative process she's kind of collapsing that binary

and back to the Internet again, it also reminds me of the way the Net makes people realize they're always performing in a sense, so they learn to take control of both the process of self-creation and self-display (through Facebook profiles, twitter, everwhere). her self-conscious performing herself into being (but earnestly so, it doesn't feel like the gestures made are artificial) is like this gender-neutral fusion of the Gainsbourg and Birkin/Phil and Ronnie Spector/Hazlewood and Sinatra... so in other words it's a Lana Del Rey visibly and honestly in charge of her own production/realization

Chris S, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

so in other words it's a Lana Del Rey visibly and honestly in charge of her own production/realization

or lady gaga or any other woman who produces the music that she is seen to perform

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

sure

Chris S, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

it's a thing I'm seeing a lot lately

Chris S, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

the female producer-and-performer is not that rare

lex pretend, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

intimacy is a strange and loaded word in any context. i've realized recently that the quality i like best in several of the 2011 albums i was initially exposed to in the year-end poll thread is a quality of intense intimacy (referring primarily to colin stetson's new history warfare 2, julia holter's tragedy, king creosote & john hopkins' diamond mine and nicholas jaar's space is only noise). there's something a bit sickly and even oppressive about that kind of intimacy, an unfiltered, unmediated engagement that verges on oversharing. when you're close enough to hear the tongue moving in someone's mouth, see the contractions and dilations of their pupils, you might be too close for comfort. i don't get that sense at all from grimes, and therefore it's hard for me to think of her music as particularly "intimate". which perhaps does raise questions about what intimacy might be in a dephysicalized, delocated context, but i don't think this album really addresses them.

I find the Holter and Jaar albums much less intimate than this, though I can sort of see what it is and them that you find intimate. With Jaar in particular the intimacy strikes me as a byproduct of the music being so insubstantial that it cannot form an existence separate to the listener (and I love most of Jaar's non-album work).

I think all this goes towards how a lot of the qualities we're arguing over whether Grimes does or does not have are qualities which do not exist in themselves but only by virtue of the relationship struck between the music and the listener - humanness, intimacy, corporeality/physicality etc.

It's a trite truism obv but I think that we'll basically keep on digging in our trench positions on this point all governed by whether we "click" with the album in the first place.

Tim F, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

lex - yeah, definetely not, even the whole process of beautication is self-production for performance, it's as old as gender constructions, but I'd say there's maybe more of an emphasis on an exploration of the production side, and its technique, with Grimes and artists like her. but maybe not (will need to make a list I think)

Chris S, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

a lot of the qualities we're arguing over whether Grimes does or does not have are qualities which do not exist in themselves but only by virtue of the relationship struck between the music and the listener - humanness, intimacy, corporeality/physicality etc.

that's a good point, and it perhaps raises questions about how music can imply things about the nature of that relationship. maybe one of the things that's interesting about grimes' "singing to myself" approach is that the result doesn't really define the space in question, leaving listeners to decide for themselves where they stand in relation to the music and the place the artist establishes for herself within it. thus you can construct it as intimate or distanced, depending on your proclivities. maybe this fluidity also enhances the sense that the music reflects identity on the internet.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

completely disagree about nicolas jaar's music being insubstantial, even on the slighter-in-comparison album - each track has a deceptively solid foundation, a bassline or a groove or a hook that works as the starting point for him to weave his magic.

lex pretend, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

The female producer-and-performer is not rare, but at the same time to simplify massively it exists along a continuum where one side of the equation can be emphasised more than the other.

Lady Gaga, for example, seems more invested in performance than production, which is not to say that she does not attend to the latter, but that she produces for the purpose of performance.

If this seems meaningless, compare with, say, a house producer who adds soft diva-esque vocals to her own tracks - while it might be important to her that she does her own vocals, the music itself does not frame the vocals in that matter (and but for our own intermittent

Tim F, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

That cut off the second half of my post. Let's try again:

The female producer-and-performer is not rare, but at the same time to simplify massively it exists along a continuum where one side of the equation can be emphasised more than the other.

Lady Gaga, for example, seems more invested in performance than production, which is not to say that she does not attend to the latter, but that she produces for the purpose of performance.

If this seems meaningless, compare with, say, a house producer who adds soft diva-esque vocals to her own tracks - while it might be important to her that she does her own vocals, the music itself does not frame the vocals in that manner (and but for our own intermittent creator-fetishism, as listeners it probably wouldn't matter to us who did the vocals). You could say that an artist doing this kind of thing is performing for the purpose of production.

Grimes exists pretty squarely in the center of the continuum, and I think an effect of that position is that the resulting performance of the equation sounds both more self-aware and dialogic (again, this is not unique, but it's only a small subset of female producer-performer work). The fact that she uses multiple voices rather than a single narrative-centric voice only underscores this.

Tim F, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

good post, spot on I think

Chris S, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

Grimes exists pretty squarely in the center of the continuum, and I think an effect of that position is that the resulting performance of the equation sounds both more self-aware and dialogic (again, this is not unique, but it's only a small subset of female producer-performer work). The fact that she uses multiple voices rather than a single narrative-centric voice only underscores this.

yeah, that's a good way of describing a certain approach. suppose kd andersson's work in the knife and especially fever ray walks the same line, see also planningtorock et al.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

as far as gaga goes, i've always seen her primarily as a producer, and one of the things she produces (lol pun) is a knowingly prefab pop personality called "lady gaga", so in my view, she's closer to the center than it might seem

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

so, i'll take it there's no point in trying to wade into this thread now huh

the wild eyed boy from soundcloud (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

i dunno, what do you think about internet robots who are also producers?

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

daft punk is ok i guess

the wild eyed boy from soundcloud (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

i dunno, what do you think about internet robots who are also producers?

you mean like horse_ebooks?

40oz of tears (Jordan), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

as far as gaga goes, i've always seen her primarily as a producer, and one of the things she produces (lol pun) is a knowingly prefab pop personality called "lady gaga", so in my view, she's closer to the center than it might seem

Yes I agree with this which is one reason I felt it necessary to caveat my explanation as a pretty massive simplification - insofar as performance is always a production (of one sort or another) it's actually theoretically dodgy to try to insist on a division between performance and production.

What I'm really getting at is the idea of character in music - and again not in the judgmental sense of "this music has no character" but more the question of whether the music presents a character or characters.

Lana Del Ray and Lady Gaga are both very clear, striking examples of that.

Tim F, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

New video! I really like this, although I'm not sure why, since it's essentially just four minutes of Grimes looking cute and goofy singing with headphones in various locations.

boxedjoy, Friday, 2 March 2012 15:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

The "Vanessa" video cost $60, mostly for booze. I believe this one cost at least twice that.

Pauper Management Improved (Sanpaku), Friday, 2 March 2012 15:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm pretty sure that the stadium in that video is the one I run a couple times a week at the gym.

Somewhere between Fergie and Jesus (Alex in Montreal), Friday, 2 March 2012 16:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

I like the video, looks like she's having fun.

Moodles, Friday, 2 March 2012 20:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

this is quite good, not sure what i expected but didn't expect this

good luck Peeta Mellark (Bee OK), Saturday, 3 March 2012 06:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

Wish there was more love for "Nightmusik", sounds like an update of Cranes
So happy to see so much love for this girl

an elk hunt (Ówen P.), Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

Has anyone seen her live? I might try to catch her set at SXSW. Worth going?

Benjamin-, Monday, 5 March 2012 01:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

I seen her live, it was pretty awesome! She certainly knows what she's doing. Good for her with this new video coming out and all. Hope she has a good year!

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Monday, 5 March 2012 02:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

Me too. I'm excited for her. I saw her at SXSW a couple times last year, she was on tour with Rollie. She cradles the mic between ear and shoulder like a telephone.

an elk hunt (Ówen P.), Monday, 5 March 2012 04:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

sounds like an update of Cranes

This is at least 70% of my love for Grimes

cashmere tears-soaker (Abbbottt), Monday, 5 March 2012 04:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I think that was my first comment on her over in the Sandbox: Cranes with a laptop, which is p much like total and completely WCC-bait.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 5 March 2012 09:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

huh, the invocation of Cranes makes me want to give this another try; my initial reaction was "nice enough, but not nice enough to seek out"

Vaseline MEN AMAZING JOURNEY (DJP), Monday, 5 March 2012 14:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think i much prefer halfaxa to visions, and i really like visions. but stuff like "dream fortress" is just otherworldly

this is my receipt for your receipt (Z S), Tuesday, 6 March 2012 04:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

an elk hunt (Ówen P.), Thursday, 8 March 2012 18:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

I like this!

Luomas (admrl), Thursday, 8 March 2012 22:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

GRIMES IN 2012

GRIMES VS GRIME

Luomas (admrl), Thursday, 8 March 2012 22:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

Reading things like this...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/mar/08/grimes-visions-review

...make me understand why Lex doesn't like Grimes.

But then again reading things like Circumambient, a close runner-up to Oblivion in the standout stakes, sounds like an R&B song with all the money sucked out of it. makes me want to punch indie music criticism in the face.

...I KERNOW BECAUSE YOU DO (White Chocolate Cheesecake), Friday, 9 March 2012 11:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

I finally managed to d/l this off the 4AD website.

I like it. I was already predisposed to like it, so I'm relieved that I do like it.

It's just odd, that the amount of ink that seems to have been spilled over this record, none of it seems to bear the slightest connection to the music that I am hearing.

Coming around to the idea that reading about music may actually be the worst possible way of discovering music I might like.

Masonic Boom, Friday, 16 March 2012 15:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

I've always looked at music criticism, reviews, message boards, etc. as a way of finding and rediscovering music without giving any weight at all to the opinions behind the writing. I kinda sift through the opinions for keywords or phrases that are suited to my taste or warn me that I probably won't be into the music being discussed. The idea that someone can interpret a song, or any art for that matter, and bludgeon everyone else with that interpretation seems pretty dickish.

That said, I hope Grimes isn't dissected into oblivion by fans and critics alike. She's so damn likable, but even better than that she has interesting songs and you can actually dance to some of them. The ideas behind them are what stick out for me.

Cousin Slappy, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

into "oblivion"

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

It was unavoidable. I love that word.

Cousin Slappy, Friday, 16 March 2012 19:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

Not tired at 4:30 AM and having a bedroom dance party to Visions. This is what it was made for.

If The xx were 2AM music for when I'm sad, and Claire's first two albums are music for when I want to zone out and drift (in a good way), this one is designed for dancing alone in the dark.

Also, the two Canadian-vinyl-only bonus tracks are pretty darn awesome.

Somewhere between Fergie and Jesus (Alex in Montreal), Sunday, 18 March 2012 08:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

Grimes - Life After Death

Somewhere between Fergie and Jesus (Alex in Montreal), Sunday, 18 March 2012 08:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

Grimes - Ambrosia

Somewhere between Fergie and Jesus (Alex in Montreal), Sunday, 18 March 2012 08:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

They're the two extra tracks on a 12" vinyl version that cuts a bunch of the rest of the album - 8 tracks total, but two are 'new'.

When you figure out where to slot them into the full length version of the album (I've put Ambrosia before Symphonia IX and Life After Death right before Nightmusic) and tack on the Amazon bonus 'Angel' at the end (and exclude 'Christmas Song', the track what has her brother rapping on it), Visions is a formidable album.

Somewhere between Fergie and Jesus (Alex in Montreal), Sunday, 18 March 2012 08:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

I just got this and it's still growing on me, so I'm not sure where it will end up on my scale of 1-10. This does seem a bit more diverse in its influences than typical electropop, with nods to house and R&B among other things. The combination of fairly fast, steady tempos, sing-songy melodies, glitches (or whatever they're called now), and the slightly affectless, introverted vocals remind me a bit of Lali Puna.

o. nate, Monday, 19 March 2012 19:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

"Vowels = Space and Time" is so perfect. Especially when the bassline comes in and she's singing little girl-like and then switches to breathy ethereality on the line "'cos boy you could [something something something]... yeah yeah yeah!"

Tim F, Thursday, 22 March 2012 21:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

people have really complex thoughts about her. i have only heard one song which i thought was slight but nice. i liked her more upon noticing the triforce tattoo on her arm.

teledyldonix, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:45 (2 years ago) Permalink


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