Claire Boucher, known professionally as Grimes, is a Canadian artist that utilises music sonically and visually to encapsulate her depiction of her experiences growing as a musician in an overtly technologically advanced era. Grimes released her fourth and most commercially successful studio album, Art Angels last year which has continued in its predecessors footsteps by inspiring a series of music videos to act not as singular entities motivated by contractual promotion of new material, but rather as acts which tell a story. Boucher takes complete authority on her synth-pop laden music in every aspect, the visual representation of her songs being no exception. She has been directing her music videos from the beginning, which has given her audience an honest insight into her creative persuasion. Her unconventional sound is paralleled in her music videos.
This week, which was an admittedly slow and uninspired few days for good or interesting new music videos, Grimes shared an announcement on Twitter to unveil what she had been working on whilst in the middle of her The AC!D REIGN tour for her current record. Boucher stated that her and her brother, Mac, along with fellow artist (and touring counterpart) Hanna directed and created a series of seven music videos. They were filmed over a 2 week period in Europe in a ‘guerilla’ manor, that is to say there was no crew, no make-up, no lights. The videos, which can be watched separately or in one consolidated cut, were filmed on a mobile phone. Not to be outdone by Solange Knowles who released two music videos last Sunday with a wealth of support from an entourage of people working relentlessly behind the scenes on various aspects such as styling, staging and choreographing the videos, Grimes showed that you don’t need a massive production line behind you to make art, all you need is the interest, passion and drive and you can do anything and receive praise and attention.
Grimes – ‘World Princess Part II’ (4AD)
Grimes’ music divides people. Some love it, others loathe it. I’ve dabbled on both sides of this barometer but I tend to align most consistently with the latter. Listening to ‘World Princess Part II’, affirmed my position. The song has an erratic fast paced and high pitched quality to the tone. This sound design is embodied by the equally erratic video that serves as the introduction to The AC!D REIGN Chronicles. The action shifts between Grimes in tour mode, dressed down on a plane moving from one city to the next to then focusing on a wild haired video game style heroine dancing around the ruins of a castle. Umbrellas are used as props and there are moments when it looks like Boucher has bunked off school and giddily ventured into town with her pals.
Grimes – ‘Butterfly’ (4AD)
This video is a lot more digestible than ‘World Princess Part II’, from the muted palette, simple styling and the inoffensively repetitious beat. Dressed in masquerade eye masks and billowing gowns of ivory and a striking fuchsia respectively, Grimes and Hanna are polished and significantly refined in their performance, making the musician seem mainstream and accessible. This is interesting when you consider that she makes a point of noting in the lyrics of ‘Butterfly’, “If you’re looking for dream girl. I’ll never be your dream girl.” She is at her most attainable in this video, and the direction on the other videos are a return to the evasive ingenuity of Grimes.
Grimes Feat. Aristophanes – ‘SCREAM’ (4AD)
This video and song left me more than a little confused. It is certainly the most ‘scenes from a tour’ music video in this series. My attention was held most by the music due to how different it is from the companion songs. In truth, it left me a little speechless so all I can really say it, watch it for yourself.
Grimes – ‘Belly of the Beat’ (4AD)
‘Belly of the Beat’ completes the Grimes singles of the AC!D REIGN Chronicles and, naturally, the aesthetic loosely connects to the other three videos for songs from Art Angels. The obnoxiously big wavy wig returns so to does the flowing frock and interpretational dance moves reminiscent of early choreography of the legendary Kate Bush. Again, not the most digestible song but it’s the thought and creative process that counts. After all, this song along with the other three co-exist on an album that opens with a song entitled, ‘laughing and not being normal.’ I think that this sentiment is effortlessly captured on both Grimes’ and her brother’s phones as they recorded these moment between touring. It’s important to remember, in everything that you do, that everyone isn’t going to immediately understand your intention and the result you come to, but you just have to keep laughing and have fun with whatever medium you choose to express yourself with.