Joni Void has already been through several artistic stages, despite his young age. After a whirl of self-released material, Selfless is the project’s first label-released album, and it is made entirely out of micro-samples, carefully sourced and then re-processed musique concrete style into the catchy, sometimes groovy pieces you hear here. Out on Constellation.
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I’ve had this record on my shuffle for a month, between a dozen other records of musical brickerbrack, and it officially makes no sense to me. ‘Selfless’ is the collage it promises to be, collated rather than composed from an endless slew of sources. Joni Void, a newly adopted pseudonym for recording artist Jean Cousin, is obsessed with the idea of making an album without ever playing music for it, and so this record becomes a mesh of contexts, philosophies and characters -- while somehow being absolutely beautiful.
I would ask you to quickly plant Delia Derbyshire in your head rather than the Avalanches as you read that paragraph about heavy-duty sampling. This is a record of mysterious, ominous and ghostly musique concrete, opening with the gorgeous but drowned piano melodies of “Song Sienne”, which walk miles towards key changes and whispers on the wind, the piece a masterful slice of detailed minimalism. As the record extends outwards, Cousin attempts to dissolve his ego further by inviting his friends to become part of the record’s texture instread, with songs by “Natalie”, “Ayuko”, “Ogun” and “Kyla” offering different voices for Cousin to put shells of noise around -- these include spoken word presentations, freestyle, whispers and a cappella arrangement.
It works because it all sounds grey. The pieces coalesce in such a way that you can’t help but tether them together, the electronics, chiming percussion and sonorous foley drones becoming homogenous simply because they’re all in the same place. It’s like watching a film anthology in sepia, each one profoundly related, if only by date and proximity. It’s plunderphonics that attempts to make a family of sound from the broadest network. I can’t explain it, but it’s a really good record and deserves the ear of anyone into noise, loops, ambience, techno... and disorientation.
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