Splash! You gasp for air and flail your limbs as you descend into the murky depths. you struggle desperately to swim upward, but you are pulled deeper into the darkness by an unseen force. You are thrust to the left, and fall through an opening. You can breathe, and you’re no longer immersed in water. The wall of dark liquid soon passes, and you see that you’re surrounded by a vast cave system inhabited by ghostly beings, and they’re singing . . .
Grime is a genre typically known for emphasizing the “machinery-pummeling-in-cold-abandoned-factories” element of electronic music, but this artist is giving a new voice to the scene and progressing the sound in ways that will captivate newbies and long-time enthusiasts alike. Safe is the newest full-length from London producer Louis Carnell, AKA Visionist, and it might be the most “human”-sounding grime record I’ve ever heard.
A poignant narrative underlies the record: the songs place a microscope on the progression of a panic attack, and are billed as a “personal portrait of anxiety.” Pitch-shifted vocal stabs and samples, both harmonically euphonious and eerily dissonant, weave together to form ghostly compositions as chill-inducing as they are eyebrow-raising. Dwelling underneath are the familiarly mechanistic, piston-like rhythms.
The feeling that I had after my initial listening of this record distinctly reminded me of how I felt after hearing Machinedrum’s Room(s) for the first time; the level of innovation that Travis Stewart infused into the genre of footwork with that release is akin to the caliber of refinement and variance that Carnell brings to the grime table on Safe. If you’re seeking melodically captivating, progressive grime, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)