Selfless by Joni VoidRelease date: May 5, 2017
Label: Constellation Records
Across their entire repertoire of releases, we’ve seen quite an eclectic mix of experimental albums from the Canadian record label Constellation Records. More interestingly are the seldom string of releases that prey upon sourced sounds, mixing and remixing it all and combining it with a myriad of sonic effects that all results in an entrancing yet sometimes confusing album experience. The albums in question seem to deploy a collage-like effect of techniques that pieces together a narrative through an enigmatic process, presenting something slightly chaotic that delves deep into the mind of the artist themselves. This is perfectly encapsulated on the debut album effort Selfless from new addition to the label Jean Cousin, working under the moniker of Joni Void.
Across his self-released works, Cousin has made a name for himself as an experimental artist, taking influence from films and soundtracks and delving deep into a world of recordings and field recordings, creating intriguing pieces of work that evoke a sense of being directly transported into Cousin’s head, and seeing things as he understands them. Selfless stands as a wonderful collage of many snapshots of life, people and experiences. Listening to the album evokes similar feelings one gets when travelling and staring out of a window, letting their mind wander off to many different places as the landscape shifts and morphs into many different things, all trapped inside one’s head.
Experimental albums like these always offer a peculiar yet ultimately enthralling experience for those willing to take the voyage into the unknown. What is perhaps of interest here is in how Cousin amalgamates so many different genres and ideas all into one cohesive vision. We see elements of electro-pop, spoken word, rap (a first for an album on Constellation Records!), noise and ambient. Between this eclectic assortment of genres, Cousin finds an incredible middle-ground that ties everything together into a cohesive vision. Sure, it’s definitely odd in places, but that perhaps adds to the experience being offered here.
Works like these feel oddly inaccessible at times. The ever shifting nature of the work, as it stylistically morphs and changes into new and unusual ideas creates a work that is hard to place into any specific setting, or envision a time when one would want to hear it. Rather, one should perhaps just allow themselves to slowly slip into it all, let the music become a weird and unusual yet oddly appropriate understanding of the world around us. At the time, it may feel difficult to place this into a working context that makes sense to us, but when it finally does make itself apparent and known, the experience is one that certainly send your brain firing around a multitude of different thoughts that few albums would spur you to do.