If we're in the midst of a second coming of UK soundsystem culture, South London producer Visionist is leading its resurgence with his future-looking liquid grime.
Born Louis Carnell, Visionist broke with a series of EPs and singles on Ramp, Leisure System, and Lit City Trax. The latter 12-inch, plus a collaboration with Fatima Al Qadiri of Future Brown, introduced Visionist’s minimalist take on fractured R&B and rehashed grime and made him a producer to watch. In 2014, he opened for neo-pop phenome FKA Twigs on the European leg of her tour, and the following year saw the release of his debut album, Safe, on PAN. Sonically, it refined Visionist's signatures: glacial synths, ballistic percussion, eerie, tightly manipulating sampling. But in a conceptual twist, Carnell designed the album to follow the trajectory of a panic attack, from its feverish onset to its rabid peak and eventual, ebbing relief. Both the album and the emotional honesty from its creator were met with critical acclaim, and Resident Advisor named Safe one of its top 20 albums of 2015. Further emphasizing Carnell's crossover appeal to the art and fashion worlds, the LP's hyperrealistic cover art was supplied by photographer Daniel Sannwald.
Carnell has created runway scores for the fashion houses Kenzo, Liam Hodges, and Roxanne Farahmand, and he also founded the imprint New Codes. Reborn as PAN sublabel Codes in 2015, the label continues to champion emerging talent in London's club music scene, including grime specialists Acre and Filter Dread and Kamixlo, a core member of South London's up-and-coming Endless party and collective.