Joni Void | Mise En Abyme | Constellation Records
Release Date: 29 March 2019
Feature Image Credit: Thomas Boucher & Sonya Stefan
Review by Jenna Dreisenstock
A woman speaks; robotic, clinical – observant. An artificial understanding of the painful, the thoughtful, the healing and broken. A look within the self; everything we perceive is a reflection of ourselves, a reflection of ourselves, a reflection of ourselves. To delve into the intimate, and observe from the outside allows a meditative introspection; a trip through the timeline of the self is never linear. A reflection of human existence and connection, the thread that ties us to others and ourselves. A red thread, acknowledgment of consciousness; and the unconscious.
“I split my infinities
And I divide the realities
As I accept the persistance
Of my own conscience
In moments of introspection
Comes a realisation
That left to deimpression
You are, and will always be
French-Canadian producer Jean Cousin, known under his moniker Joni Void: returns in conceptual bliss with his second full length album, Mise En Abyme. A raw, intimate aesthetic; the term refers to the practice of merging an image within itself; a reflection of an infinite sequence, meta-analytical – exploring the narrative within a narrative – the story within the story within the story. Cousin’s duality in introspection and outside reflection sings true within the interwoven timbres, textural exploration of the immediate self and the astral, detached self. A personal immersion into the abyss, a cascade of nostalgia; intimacy in the known and unknown, memories and heartbreaks threaded through one another back and forth in time.
‘Lov-Ender‘ (with YlangYlang) introduces itself in a spectral glow, a click-clack of simmering percussive progression fluttering beneath an angelic vocal sample; flowing with a slumber-heavy accompanying beat. Tin metallic timbres dot the soundscape amongst the gentle syncopated percussion. A seamless ebb and flow between the experimental, creates a minimalist; ambient traverse. A carefully layered exploration, the track sweeps almost spiritual in tone as the accompanying vocal samples cradle a slick, melancholic pearl.
Following Lov-Ender, ‘Abusers‘ (with Sarah Pagé) opens with a high-pitched, singular vibrato; slightly ominous in nature, yet the gentle flicker of an intimate beat calms amongst soulful vocal samples. The synth waves tremble and build, embracing the softness of slow-dance accompanying glitch; sweet, introspective vocal harmonies flow within a melodic tenderness. A progressive soundscape overwhelms lovingly, all encompassing in electronic braids; intertwined in a climatic, breathless outro.
‘Safe House‘ greets listeners with a sweetened glitch-synth melody, a steady beat swirling amongst the expressive technological haze. Dotted in further progression; an anxious heart-beat in the blue blood veins. Glitter in the tempo increase; disjointed electronic melodies swim seamlessly within the structure of the track, honeyed synths rising and falling within the percussive. Engulfed in the spherical sound, painted layers of the experimental form a deeply tender electronic narrative; cut-and-paste vocal samples building a raw, introspective foundation. Intimate in space, complex in tone and moments of ambience, meditative silence; contrasting in a harsh, fuzz and glitch break. The presence of emotional vocals sprout prominent in a theatric, erratic close.
A meditative reflection in minimalist splendour, Mise En Abyme leaves listeners in a pensive, cocoon. The delicate melancholia of Cousin’s deeply personal creation spins a narrative that cradles itself, moving between a twilight limbo and the cold light of a brand new morning. The complexity of the narratives swirling within themselves; an album driven forward carefully in a structured, yet tender minimalism curdles a honeyed ambience; engulfing the listener in a mixed melancholia, the beauty and loss that comes with nostalgia and the recognition of the self and others.
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