Membrain is a project that, pre-‘Visions’, Grimes’s Claire Boucher formed with Tim Lafontaine aka Cop Car Bonfire, the busker she called ‘the coolest live show in Montreal’. What’s special about Membrain is that the pop elements of Grimes are diluted by the mechanical sounds of Cop Car Bonfire and vice versa. Lafontaine’s highly rhythmic beats become the backdrop to which Boucher’s religious-chant vocals are interspersed in quasi dialogue with the synths.
Membrain’s music oscillates from the contemplative drone of a noise cult, to the dancey beats of a gloomy afterhours venue. It is indeed very reflective of a typical Montreal winter: dark, cold, slow but with a hunger to dance that must be satisfied. All of which can be felt on ‘Sit Back, Rewind’, the name of their soon to be released EP. The industrial production style of this project – with its atypical drops and tempo arrangements – plays with notions of electronic disfunction. We are never sure of what we are listening to and yet we understand that there is a cohesive element to it. The song Airic (perhaps a reference to Airick Woodhead aka musician Doldrums) is a good example of how this mechanical project somehow manages to sound dirty, mouldy, human; far from the clinical synthesis of traditional electronica. Interestingly, it also includes elements of Grimes’s Symphonia IX (my wait is u). Eye Try is perhaps the most experimental of songs, if one is to call it that. It sounds like someone frantically yanking at analog tape while stumbling in a studio, incorporating sounds we’ve heard come out of machines in our houses, but never presented in this manner. Membrain is highly automated and extremely fresh.