Grimes – Geidi Primes Review

She IS the Kwisatz Haderach!

Grimes – Geidi Primes (2011) – 8.2 / 10.0
Label: Arbutus Records

Grimes probably pushes more of my geek buttons at once than any current band I can think of, and maybe more than any I can remember. Montreal’s Claire Boucher, could probably make a decent living based solely on her beautiful name alone, has morbidly chosen the nom de guerre ‘Grimes’ for her solo project. Boucher plies her trade in electro avant-pop, at times stately, at others playful. To make matters all the more interesting, Geidi Primes, which originally dropped last year on cassette and download only and has since received the full release treatment this year, has a running Dune theme with several of the song titles (‘Caladan’, ‘Shadout Mapes’, a couple others) referencing the famous science fiction book and, later, movie. Geidi Primes does an able job of straddling author Frank Herbert’s futuro-messianic mysticism and Dune (the movie) director David Lynch’s obtuse, commercial-disaster-ensuring strangeness, as Boucher deftly wrangles her internal struggle to make the listener shake their hips to what ultimately amounts to a “headphones album”.

 While none of the songs on Geidi Primes could be mistaken for outright jams, ‘Rosa’ with its bouncy bass line is the most obvious single here (albeit not the strongest track). The at times dense, at times sparse album remains cohesive, built around Boucher’s spooky, chant-like vocals, similar to the late Broadcast singer, Trish Keenan’s, particularly on that band’s swan song, Tender Buttons, as well as Gang Gang Dance’s Liz Bougatsos, when Boucher exhibits an affinity for non-linear, non-verbal orientalist vocal sounds on ‘Sardaukar Levenbrech’.

Boucher sees Grimes as much as a performance art project as a proper band, but whereas that could be a recipe for self-indulgent disaster, it makes for a happily self-indulgent accomplishment on Geidi Primes. The samples and found sounds mesh intriguingly here with the more traditional instrumentation, into a ritualistic, icy syntheses of breathy vocals and disintegrating cathode encoded breaks and beats that never lose their humanity.

The tunes on Geidi Primes could easily have been sung into a weirding module, for all I know, and if you understand that reference, you may be interested in the art-pop, science fiction, cult movie love on display here. Short of having a track called ‘My Name is a Killing Word’ (which, sadly is not the case on Geidi Primes), a geek couldn’t ask for more.

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