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Posts tagged “experimental sound


Grimes – Canadian Goth-electro Pop star



“I’ve come to realize that so much about this job doesn’t have to do with skill, but about the way you perceive yourself and the way in which you make other people perceive you. If you tell someone you’re doing something innovative, they’ll think you’re doing something innovative. If you tell someone you’re playing a flawless show, they’ll think you’re playing a flawless show.”

Truer words could not be spoken by a musician who has achieved critical success and is steadily gaining popularity without any proper vocal training or musical education.  Claire Boucher is gaining quite a bit of attention as an emerging Canadian producer/singer and she’s pretty much doing it on her own.  Her sound has been likened to Enya on steroids or the Cocteau twins on rohypnol, but avoiding blatant comparisons, Grimes music embodies an ambient  dream like state of a future Utopian world.  Labeled as shoegaze-bedroom pop to electro-goth and all that’s in between, Grimes is a genre bending musician who beautifully blends all her influences seamlessly. The Vancouver born Montreal-based musician has previously released two albums, Geidi Primes and Halfaxa yet it is her third studio LP, Visions that is generating the most buzz.

Released on Feb 21 by labels Arbutus and 4AD across North America, Visions has been receiving favourable reviews and Grimes is being heralded as one of the most compulsively listenable albums of 2012.  She has received amazingly favourable reception for an experimental musician from the Montreal indie scene.  She sings in a moody falsetto that is childlike and airy, not at all what you’d expect from someone with Grimes as their stage name.  But she defies expectations, delivering an album that is both beautiful and dark.  Boucher has opened for Lykke Li, a suitable match since both young women share  a similar passion for  eerie dark melodies. On Visions, Grimes commands your attention with whispery vocals and smooth compositions. Listening to her album is like letting oneself drift out to sea without a care in the world, getting lost in the beauty and never wishing to return.  Her music is a much needed vacation from standard dream pop and the dreariness of a monotonous life.

‘Genesis’ kick starts the album with a melody that captivates. Keyboards and Boucher’s angelic voice transport you to another world. ‘Oblivion’ is a lo-fi ambient jam whereas ‘Eight’ reminds me of chipmunks who have tripped out on acid at a rave, the song has a distinct raver feel but works in a crazy, hallucinogenic sort of way.  Experimenting with her vocals never diminishes how awesome this record is.  The New York Times even named Visions “one of the most impressive albums of the year so far.”‘ ‘Circumambient’ is one of the best tracks this album can offer, with a killer dance beat and intense energy drawing from dubstep, electronic and goth influences. At times reminiscent of Zola Jesus and Fever Ray, Grimes album is moody but often infuses uplifting beats and atmosphere. Visions plays out like a mish-mash of layers and loops, whispers and sighs, indecipherable lyrics, electronic bliss and energy.  ‘Be a Body’ makes me want to dance on a crowded subway with my headphones on.  Her album is nothing if not infectious. Anyone who was lucky enough to grab a ticket for her sold out performance March 19 at The Horseshoe Tavern on Queen St. West will not be disappointed. After Pitchfork named Grimes in their Best New Music section, I doubt many will get the privilege to see Grimes in such an intimate setting again.

Her album is much like her aesthetic appeal, cutting edge and attention grabbing.  Her sound is easily identifiable and her voice is clearly distinguishable as are her omnipresent, perfectly cut, baby bangs.


Somebody that I want to know

Wally. Walter. Wouter. Gotye.

By whichever name you choose to refer to him by, he is the voice behind the song that seems to resonate with everyone who hears it.  Somebody that I used to know is an internationally successful single that even celebs like Ashton Kutcher and Lily Allen have been tweeting about.

Gotye is the stage name for Wouter De Backer. A Belgian born Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.  For those of you wondering how he came up with the title Gotye, you should know that Wouter in french translates to Gaultier.  Which happens to be an old pet name his mother affectionately called him, and so Gaultier became Gotye and three albums are the result of his work.  He is also a part of The Basics, an Australian indie/rock group he continues to perform with currently.

His first two albums Boardface (2001-2004) and Like Drawing Blood (2006-2009) both incorporated sampling and experimental sound. His voice has been likened to Sting and Seal and his sound has been compared to Bon Iver but there’s no point in trying to compare him to anyone else, because there really is no one quite like Gotye.  He manages to combine heartfelt songwriting and earnest angst and balladeering with soft rock, alt-pop and frenzied experimentation.

His latest album Making Mirrors came in at number one on the ARIA Australian album chart, making Gotye the first Australian act to simultaneously hold both the number one single and album since Silverchair who achieved the same feat in 2007.  His albums never seem to fit within the current mold of the pop world, they seem a little more theatrical, majestic, eclectic, cathartic as well as haunting all at once.  Maintaining some sort of balance seems next to impossible but Gotye manages to pull it off, which is something to be thankful for since we all crave something truly different once in awhile.

Tracks to check out – Heart’s a Mess, Save Me, Eyes Wide Open, Somebody that I used to Know, Dig your own hole