The latest emission from the PAN roster is a full-length from Visionist, whose stock has been justifiably rising in recent years. Safe crashes in with a sort of bit-crushed flurry of thudding beats, rumbling bass and assorted samples, the whole thing recalling something along the lines of Holly Herndon having a panic attack. Very good.
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- Safe by Visionist
8/10 Ant Staff review, 14 October 2015
London artist Louis Carnell has been putting out tracks as Visionist for the past four years or so but has taken until now to unleash his first proper full length album. And a proper album is exactly what ‘Safe’ is; in the sense that the tracks not only work as stand alone pieces but are composite parts in a larger journey or story. In this case, the journey tracking the inner workings of the mind during an anxiety attack. If that sounds potentially terrifying/ hard work then I can assure you that simply isn’t the case. Sure there are moments of turbulence and paranoia, but generally speaking ‘Safe’ manages to be a deeply soulful record.
There’s a real continuity/ flow achieved utilizing a reasonably sparse sound palette - that I can only describe as something like if you took copies of The Art Of Noise’s ‘Moments In Love’ and Burial’s ‘Untrue’, and shattered them into tiny pieces. The resulting album could be the sound of those fragments reassembled, then distilled through filters of deconstructed grime, experimental R&B and fractured electronica. It’s a deeply personal and engaging work, really giving the listener the sense they’ve been on the ride with Louis, from panic through to hope and finally survival.
Whether we live privileged lives or not, we all have our own internal battles. ‘Safe’ demonstrates that through art/ music we can find mechanisms to cope with the shit life throws at us. Through sharing the cathartic process of creation we can offer hope to others as well as offering a window into the soul of its creator. In that sense ‘Safe’ is extremely accomplished. But on a more basic level it can also simply be a very enjoyable listening experience.
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