London-born Visionist, (Louis Carnell,) has rapidly ascended the ranks of producers and DJs at the forefront of modern club music. Quickly categorized as one of the leaders of the international new school of Grime, However, Visionist looks beyond Grime and into the unknown, crafting a heavenly opus continuing on from his critically acclaimed "I'm Fine" on Lit City Trax. The outcome is his utterly original take on this comprehensive club music spectrum of the past two decades -- hyper-minimal and brooding while remaining ethereal. Visionist's tracks on I’m Fine sound vast, as if mapping vivid, emotional landscapes. His approach to production is introspective, with an eye for detail and an ear for tension, focused on opening up space rather than cluttering it.
Visionist maintains his own record label, Lost Codes, which while rooted in Grime, is centered around the genre-breaking imagination and inventiveness of his artists (SD Laika, Acre, Saga, FIlter Dread, Bloom). Avoiding looking back in time to recreate the past, now he's helping to usher in the new vanguard. Like Visionist, these artists are creating an identity true to themselves.
On I'm Fine, Part II -- the final EP in a twofold installment on Lit City Trax -- Visionist explores each of the stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance -- coming to terms with loss and suffering by deconstructing and rebuilding the past into a myriad of pensive musical styles.
I'm Fine, Part II attempts to offer resolution for the grief stricken listener, and closure to some of the problems explored on I'm Fine. The opening track "Eye Try" opens the flood gates. An extended intro, coupled with reverb-dripping vocal chops, a heart stopping reese-bass drops into the tune, eventually unravelling into a plaintive female chant.
"More Pain" remains skeletal and hyper-minimal like it's predecessor "Pain" -- the songs call back and forth to each other. Resourceful as ever, Visionist recycles the same vocal to create a moving, skeletal and largely beatless composition. The songs stays in motion, propelled forward by a divine choir-like lead and bass stabs trailed by sparse, haunting percussion.
"The Way" starts stark and drops into complex, pulsing bass, tied in with heartbreaking cries of "Without You". While not a Grime track, the melodies coupled with the tough bass, are reminiscent of the forward thinking ethic of producers from the days before Grime's inception.
In quick contrast, "First Love" is a direct ode to the Grime of Visionist's youth. This most percussion heavy track on the whole record yet the emphasis somehow remains on an overwhelming, chopped vocal melody. The syncopated beat and bass drop and urge you to move. This is soon followed by two sharply contrasting bass leads, bringing this constantly evolving track to its peak.
Playing off a UK Funky groove, "Acceptance" once again is a forward thinking take on this undeniably British sound. Immediately the kick drum leads you into more complex polyrhythms between the shakers, low end and kicks. Another concise track, Visionist gets directly to the point. "Acceptance" is a unique club banger, using his own distinct palette.
I'm Fine, Part II closes with "Something Old, Something New", which was Visionist's earliest foray in this manner. Beginning with a spacious pulse, what has become his signature vocal chops, swiftly begin to unravel into progressive, ethereal harmonies. The track culminates with the most direct vocal. "Make me float" rings out, concluding the EP and suggesting a resolution to the grief portrayed throughout the "I'm Fine" series -- a new beginning.
With I'm Fine, Part II, Visionist creates something far greater than the sum of its parts. The record is jarring and undeniably British. I'm Fine Part II explores heavy vocal manipulation, appropriating samples into powerful melodic tools. The record is an ode to Visionist’s dark musical past and a love note to his bright future.
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?