It’s a name I’d heard before …
1. A couple years ago when she was 21 Claire Boucher — aka Grimes — decided to float/boat down the Mississippi with a friend, William Gratz, and they ran into trouble even before they left the Twin Cities, as recounted in a 2009 Star Tribute story, “This boat don’t float“.
Even as old as I am now I am attracted to the notion of dropping (almost) everything and doing something ‘crazy’ like boating down the Mississippi … or the Danube, the Amazon, or something even more impossible and irresponsible. The boating reminds me of Dan Simmons’ ‘Hyperion Cantos’, the River Tethys, and the Farcaster gates; this in turn reminds me of “Myst” (1993). Dropping everything recalls Adrian Brody preparing for “The Pianist” by giving up his possessions. I’m reminded, finally, of a professor advising me around the time of my Fulbright to do the year not just because of the research opportunities, but because it was an opportunity to be young, to just be out there living.
But what it does not remind me of but rather suggests is that we should always be aiming for this sort of living.
2. The A.V. Club (Evan Rytlweski) has a — glowing — February, 2012 review of her album “Visions“; I gave several of the songs a listen and found a few — such as the frequently played “Oblivion” — really quite catchy, though once I move on to other music these songs fade from memory. They also feature her in a March, 2012 ‘For our Consideration’ article, “The Tumblr trap: Is Internet culture turning musicians into content-producers?“, about — among other things — ‘seapunk‘, musical micro-genres in general, and notions of ‘authenticity’.
As pointed out in the review, “Visions” is rather listener-friendly and accessible. Broadly speaking one could take it as well produced and light electro-pop; a Salon commenter contributed, “She has a pretty good electro-pop type album. If you like Ladytron, Goldfrapp, Le Tigre, Portishead, etc….you might also like Grimes.” Earlier releases, such as “Halfaxa” (2011) have a slightly more experimental feel to them.
3. The Salon post — a repost from Grimes’ Tumblr — was eminently reasonable; the comments to the article were more evidence of why one should not read comments. Non sequitur misogynist “jonny vincent” was out in full force with MRA-style ranting (“She doesn’t want to tell the truth about women lying to men about sex. She doesn’t want men to understand female biology”). The lesser avenues of hatred were focused on not caring about her music (but feeling the need to post comments anyway to announce this), calling her narcissistic, complaining about how she capitalized words (or didn’t), or suggesting that if she’s a celebrity she ought to expect this treatment. Which all seems to be off-topic or miss the point … which is the point (ironically enough?).
4. From that second A.V. Club post: “Boucher has expressed a fear of people limiting her identity to merely a collection of her interests or a curatorial rather than musical force.” From an Observer article/interview:
‘There was sort of a moment of realisation,” says 23-year-old Claire Boucher. “One day, I was listening to music and it suddenly made sense to me how it was constructed.”
Like Grimes I have Garage Band at my fingertips; three feet behind me rests a viola. So why am I not making music?