PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Joni Void: Selfless

At heart, Selfless is an interesting exercise in intentional dissociation.


Joni Void

Selfless

Label: Constellation
US Release Date: 2017-05-05
UK Release Date: Import
Amazon
iTunes

Jean Cousin's first album for Constellation Records performing as Joni Void is called Selfless, a name that's as much a statement of purpose as it is an album title. On the day of the album's release, Void remarked on Facebook that "the album is intended to represent an out-of-body experience, through any means necessary -- music, cinema, art, death, drugs, mental or physical illness... it is a 'projection', in the various meanings of the word." Cousin borrows, interprets, and incorporates other material into his little pieces, trying to let the borrowed material dictate the direction of the project.

Clearly, it is still his art, and it carries the Joni Void name, but it's an interesting exercise in intentional dissociation. The non-collaborative tracks liberally employ found sound and samples; the collaborative tracks go so far as to carry the name of the collaborator in a parenthetical appendage to the title, further de-emphasizing Cousin's contribution. The only bit on the album that Cousin admits to performing in the liner notes is the bass on the second track, "Observer (Natalie's Song)".

The spoken word from Natalie Reid in that very track may well provide the inspiration for Cousin's direction here: "Sometimes I hate to think that I exist inside of other people's heads... I am shaped by their past, not mine." Reid's spoken word dominates "Observer", whose backdrop is minimal and abstract, but it pays to listen. It's the one track that explicitly lays out the aims of the album.

The uncomfortable ambiance of "Observer" extends to the rest of the first half, which is the stronger half of the album. Opener "Song Siènne" is an interpretation of an Erik Satie piano piece, a lovely, uneasy thing that can't help but tremble as its arpeggios float through the song's runtime. "Doppler" is exactly what it sounds like, a found-sound doppler sound effect repeated and stretched to song-length. "Aesthetics of Disappearance" is the first hint of what the latter half of the album offers, with glitchy beats and bells offering percussion and texture; everyday sounds turned to drums and a structure that builds into something more menacing than we've heard to this point.

The album turns on "Désolé", a paranoid, creepy minute of ambience that seems designed to confront its listener's fears. From there we get things like "Yung Werther (Ogun's Song)", a glitch-heavy track with Ogun Afariogun contributing something that sounds like either a tribute or a parody of the worst, crudest imagery hip-hop manages to muster. On the one hand, the venture into hip-hop gives the listener something to hold on to. On the other hand, it's so confrontational as to be downright off-putting. "Abjection" follows, all elephantine factory noises and Kraftwerkian kling klang, serving as the highlight of the noisy back half. "Agnosia" is fairly interesting as well, hollow melodies and more staticky beats, along with the occasional intrusion of "Tom's Diner" for good measure.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.