No Pain in Pop’s decision to reissue Montreal-via-Vancouver producer Claire Boucher’s first record is a timely one (as well as practical, as it was a cassette in its previous incarnation). Boucher is currently supporting Lykke Li on her most recent North American tour (to great acclaim); she also brilliantly remixed Washed Out (“Eyes Be Closed”) and compounded her burgeoning stellar reputation with last year’s Halfaxa, and this year’s Darkbloom EP, where she continued to bring a kind of kinetic energy to her ghostly avant-garde pop.
Geidi Primes often feels as if Coco Rosie, Julianna Barwick, and Dirty Projectors have combined forces to create these wonderfully majestic and diverse soundscapes. “Caladan” is almost tribal in conceit and sounds like it is being made in the bath, with the watery piano framing her pretty, eerie voice, moving swiftly to the surprising, plucking guitar of “Sardaukar Levenbrech”, heavily influenced by Indian music. Wes Anderson might hear the latter track and be very annoyed that Boucher didn’t produce this around the time of 2007’s The Darjeeling Limited.
“Rosa” stands out (the bass line begs for a remix), and her sweet, soft voice coos, soaring around staccato-like percussion. There is so much going on that it is often hard to decipher what she is saying; but through lyrics, choral episodes, and swathes of harmonic “ooh”s and “aah”s, her message translates.
Amidst the overall gorgeous sound, there are many interesting musical reference points. The echoey, 80’s synth-heavy track “Avi”, the dark electronica of “Feyd Rautha Dark Heart”, and the pure folksy toy instrument innocence of “Gambang” (which could easily have been found in the Incredible String Band’s attic, the product of a lost weekend) each produce intriguing moments. The fractured, breathy world of “Venus in Fleurs” brings us to a different place entirely, a darkly lit underworld that sounds like someone breathing ice. There is something utterly glacial about the entire song, yet Grimes has real heart, and within every track there is a certain glowing warmth, a gleeful sense of real creativity.
The synths on “Grisgris” are arresting, and, along with the piano melody, manage to tether her looped and layered vocals. “Beast Infection” is another gem and is truly melancholic, but it’s delivered with a lightness of touch that beguiles. There is something so unusual about this record, an artefact that sounds as if it is being transmitted from space, as if it were coming from a more creative place than could be found on earth. Boucher uses drum and bass, hip-hop, electronica, classical, folk, dream pop, and everything in between to lift, edify, and entrance. “Everyone thinks that I am boring,” she sings on “Zoal/Face Dancer”, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Essential Tracks: “Rosa”, “Beast Infection”