really like the description someone on ILM came up with for Grimes: "Cranes with a laptop"
there is a lot of this vibe about at the moment -- late 80s, wispy, ethereal-girly, 4AD/Cocteaus/Lisa Gerrard-y...
in my end-of-year thoughts, i talked about the overlap between the New Exquisite and the New Religiose
Julianna Barwick... Julia Holter
a vague reaching out to the Transcendent, or Otherworldly, or Celestial.... the not-everyday, the not-earthbound... the Spiritual, or Spirit-Worldy .... sometimes accompanied by actual scholarly knowledge of myth, ritual, culture before the Modern Era...
pure vocals, often wordless... multitracked... warp 'n' wefted... tapestried... heavy on the reverb
so it's not exactly late-80s-retro but - if you're of a certain vintage yourself - it unavoidably reminds of that moment
where late 80s Goth-Lite connects to current conditions of music-making is that Goth-Lite was studio music, about layers, about effects... breaking with the performance model of the band (even though Cocteaus DCD Cranes etc did play live, but where it became a question of duplicating the texturitis of the records, rather than the other way round, the studio recording simulating/capturing the live energy). so obviously that translates to the solo artist + digital audio workstations in a bedroom
there is something about artificial reverb being tempting as a way of adding "space" to recordings that are otherwise by their nature and method-of-construction a bit airless and dry
even the ethno-exotica and classical/early-music aspects relate to Dead Can Dance a bit
it's a good listen, this new Grimes record -- atmospheric, catchy... the filigreed detail appeals to digital ears
question: is the "visionary" still possible in digiculture?
there's something about the infinite plastic possibilities of sound-making in the digimodern era that makes me think of CGI.... a fundamental break with the analogue-era illusion-as-craft approach to special effects that led to "Strawberry Fields Forever" as much as to 2001, A Space Odyssey
when literally anything envisionable is capable of being realised, when sound-data and pixels can be pushed around every-which-way with superslick facility, it seems to me that one no longer makes that leap through "can't believe my eyes/ears" into a magical acceptance that what you're seeing/hearing is an actual event
check on these: Christian at Dream Transmissions blog's very interesting posts on what he's calling Stargaze
as discussed here
and in more focused way in these posts on Julia Holter and Grimes