- Visionist has become one of British dance music's most intriguing drifters, finding himself attached to a string of scenes and sounds since his emergence in 2011. The South London-based Louis Carnell first made his name with a syncopated 808 sound that earned him plaudits from Oneman and a mooted (though never released) single on 502. By 2012 he was being hailed as one of the promising young bucks on Blackdown's Keysound label, producing a track titled "New Wave" alongside Wen and Beneath. But, in contrast to his collaborators' dubstep-rooted hybrids, Carnell has always shown a stronger affiliation with grime; indisputable evidence of which can be found in the cocked-gun, shattered-glass swagger of this year's Snakes EP for Leisure System.
I'm Fine sees him drift free once more, touching down across the Atlantic. The EP emerges on New York's Lit City Trax, and these six tracks—weightless, reverb-drenched, sampled-vocal-led numbers that take grime's form and turn it to newly sorrowful ends—have more in common with NYC producer Fatima al Qadiri's Desert Strike EP than any recent UK grime. Fittingly, there's an al Qadiri collaboration here: "The Call" sees the pair interweave their respective digi-vocal melodies to excellent effect. A bold key change partway through supplies the element of surprise, a technique replicated in "Escape," which, with its muscular halftime beat, is the EP's most direct moment.
Elsewhere there are subtle nods to footwork (in twitchy opener "Lost") and techno (in "I Don't Care"). But grime is clearly the driving force throughout, a fact evidenced by the recurrence of buried 8-bar structures and a keen ear for rhythmic abstraction. "Pain," with its gorgeous sampled melisma, is probably the best thing here. But I'm Fine is best digested as a set—a succinct and fascinating manifesto from a producer who has, perhaps, finally found a place to call home.
01. I'm Fine
05. The Call feat. Fatima Al Qadiri
06. I Don't Care