Selfless
CST125      CD 180gLP MP3 FLAC
       
Reviews
"Joni Void approaches Selfless as a purely found-sound project, with melodies and rhythms emerging from intricate editing rather than performed parts. The limited vocals we hear—spoken-word poems, guest raps, or even just breathing—were captured through field recordings or phone messages, a tactic that reinforces Cousin’s shadowy presence. At times, the malleable, corroded nature of his music yields to the crisply captured sound of Cousin manipulating his machinery, like the unseen wizard pulling levers from behind the curtain. As the record goes on, Void’s meticulous edits start to fortify into more robust rhythms: “Cinema Without People” is the album’s pulsating centerpiece, using the sound of a spinning film projector as the bedtrack for an oscillating, hypno-house throb. And yet as much as Selfless feels suited to soundtrack your next newsticker-induced panic attack, the album also functions as Cousin’s affectionate tribute to the Montréal DIY scene that encouraged him to perform live. A handful of tracks are given over to friends. Of the infinite sounds at Cousin’s disposal here, the most resonant are provided by Ayuko Goto (aka Noah) on “Empathy (Ayuko’s Song),” an analog-synth-smeared reverie from the late ’90s Warp playbook that’s propelled by her hushed whispers and panting breaths. Though its vocals are indecipherable, it’s the song that most clearly speaks to Selfless’ transcendent mission, hovering between the comforting intimacy of community and the unsettled essence of the outside world. And it’s a reminder that, even its quietest, most self-effacing moments, Selfless absolutely judders with physicality and viscera."
Pitchfork 7.7

"Endearingly head-spinning debut release of textured, pulsating plunderphonics from Jean Cousin aka Joni Void (and fka Johnny_Ripper); spanning elegant waltzes redolent of The Caretaker thru to slamming metal maelstroms and hiccuping, micro-edited avant-techno, there’s a teasingly elusive logic underlying it all which lies in Void’s sleight-of-hand and hypnotic timing. The Montréal-transplanted artist blends his Film Studies schooling with a sympathetic appreciation of DIY/lo-fi techniques to arrive at a very canny sense of freedom within his music. Now focussing ever deeper on the synaesthetic visual/sound and narrative qualities of editing, he’s arrived at a sort of concrete-pop that lives up to the enigma of his influences - Delia Derbyshire, Philip Glass, Burial - whilst smartly intersecting ground previously cut-up by the likes of Jan Jelinek or Matmos. However, the biggest key to the record ids in its title, Selfless, which characterises his attempt to undermine egoist composer ideas of originality, or a sense of solipsism, and replace it with the voices of his friends - whether embedding the poetry of Natalie Reid into the fractured waltz of Observer (Natalie’s Song), or incorporating Ogun Afariogun’s rap, processed Moor Mother-style, into the fractious knock of Yung Wether (Ogun’s Song) - whilst the instrumental likes of the warbling Song Siènne fillets Erik Satie into something uncannily refreshing, and Doppler renders something new from familar sound sampled off free mp3s, and the intensely frayed loops of Cinema Without People quite literally nods to the important influence of Vicki Bennett’s People Like Us, twisting samples of her plunderphonic soundtrack to the film The Big Sleep into a miasmic fantasy that feels like the listener is keening through the silver screen. It’s quite simply a wildly imaginative ride, one of the most intriguing things we’ve heard on Constellation since Sandro Perri and co’s Off World album, at least. Recommended!"
BOOMKAT

"Following a steady output of self-released original albums and remixes, Selfless marks Cousin's first on a record label, and cleverly manoeuvres the dilated listenership with savvy. By enlisting a cast of guests and sounds that increasingly shatter expectations as they're slowly deployed (after an A-side frontloaded with ambience, monochrome metallic industrialism ("Abjection") chases rap ("Young Werther (Ogun's Song)") in the record's bottom half), Cousin undermines any reputations that might precede him as a bedroom recordist, and, in an intertextual (if semi-roundabout) way, Selfless provides an intimate look at a new player on the scene and with it, a portrait of a chameleonic contemporary spirit."
EXCLAIM 8/10

"Inspired by British electronic-music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, Lille-born Montreal transplant Joni Void (birth name Jean Cousin, formerly known online as Johnny Ripper) makes musique concrète avant-pop that updates the nostalgic idée fixe of the former by way of the latter. The music retains the catholic tastes and affective concerns of classic plunderphonics—reference points range from Satie and Goethe to hip hop and glitchy techno; song titles like “Observer,” “Aesthetics of Disappearance,” and “Cinema Without People,” betray a Tumblr-esque ethos of stylish alienation, but largely lacking the genre’s customary auditory signifiers, they sound resolutely contemporary—and, indeed, unique: there is a playful compositional sensibility here that keeps you on your toes. Moving seamlessly through a range of electronic ambient and dance forms, Selfless lulls and excites by turns."
MUSICWORKS

"Selfless is largely a successful experiment in that it becomes very difficult to tell just where Cousin ends and his sources and collaborators begin, especially when he breaks down their contributions into beats, melodies, and soundscapes. Cousin keeps himself off-balance by making every track its own little entity, and he keeps the listeners off-balance by throwing in little winks and hiccups right when the listener finds a rhythm. Selfless is more than a series of tricks, however. It's a fascinating little piece of art."
POPMATTERS

"Across his various projects, there’s a sense of studious wonder, as if driven by a curiosity that never rests."
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BUY SELFLESS ON BANDCAMP (DIGITAL)
 
 
"Selfless absolutely judders with physicality and viscera." – Pitchfork 7.7
 
“An endearingly head-spinning debut release of textured, pulsating plunderphonics…It’s quite simply a wildly imaginative ride, one of the most intriguing things we’ve heard on Constellation. Recommended!" – Boomkat
 
“With sounds that increasingly shatter expectations, Selfless provides an intimate look at a new player on the scene and a portrait of a chameleonic contemporary spirit." – Exclaim 8/10
 
"Selfless is largely a successful experiment in that it becomes very difficult to tell just where Joni Void ends and his sources and collaborators begin. A fascinating little piece of art." – PopMatters
 
 
 
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DELUXE 180gLP w/insert, 12"x24" poster + donwload coupon
 
 
 
 
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COMPACT DISC (in 100% recycled paperboard jacket)
 
 

Description

Joni Void is the newly minted pseudonym of producer Jean Cousin – known previously in the Soundcloud, Bandcamp and other online communities as Johnny Ripper. A self-taught musician making tracks since he was 14 years old and living in Lille, France, Cousin moved to Montréal in 2012 to pursue Film Studies. He plunged into the city’s fertile DIY/loft scene and in a spirited transformation, evolved from cloistered bedroom/virtual persona to highly engaged organizer and performer. Cousin has self-released a cavalcade of original albums and remixes since 2011; Selfless is his debut release on a record label.
 
Cousin’s earliest records, made as a teenager, combine piano and field recordings, inspired by the film soundtracks of Jon Brion, Philip Glass and Yann Tiersen and the sample worlds as Boards Of Canada, The Books, Four Tet and Burial. An increasing obsession with micro-sampling, aleatory composition, history of cinema and the techniques of foley and film sound editing – along with an increasingly active practice of remixing and beat-making – has seen Cousin’s music flourish in fascinating ways. Perhaps most importantly, Cousin now constructs his tracks entirely from found sources and aims not to ‘play’ anything at all. His personal hero Delia Derbyshire (White Noise; the early years of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop) cemented his commitment to making musique concrète avant-pop inspired by these analog tape-based pioneers (albeit now utilising today’s more accessible digital tools).
 
Selfless is an exploration of catharsis and the escape from entrapments of subjectivity and solipsism, guided by Cousin’s renunciation of any ‘original’ playing or recording of his own, while celebrating intimate community and inter-subjectivity through solicitation of private voice recordings from close friends: Natalie Reid recites her own poem on the hypnotic “Observer (Natalie’s Song)”; Ogun Afariogun (aka Tide Jewel) contributed a freestyle rap recorded and sent by phone on “Yung Wether (Ogun’s Song)”; Ayuko Goto (aka Noah) provided a sound file of whispers for “Empathy (Ayuko’s Song)”; “Disassociation (Kyla’s Song)” is entirely constructed of vocals by Kyla Brooks (aka Nag). The rest of the album’s 12 songs explore a gamut of strategies ranging from the textural, beatless, Satie-inflected opener “Song Siènne” to the pulsing ambient-industrial techno of “Cinema Without People” and “Abjection”, and the kinetic, deconstructed IDM-electronica of “Aesthetics Of Disappearance” and “Agnosia”.
 
Selfless is chock full of stand-out tracks that work in isolation but also make for a wonderfully complex, coherent and compelling album of experimental plunderphonics. Joni Void presents a debut album that balances the freeform spirit of sampledelica with the conceptual, emotive and stylistic specificity of individual songcraft, to glorious effect. Thanks for listening.
 
Thanks for listening.
 
Release date: 05 May 2017
Running time: 46:05
 
Packaging notes
CD comes in a custom mini-gatefold jacket printed on thick 24pt. 100% recycled Orford paperboard with inner dust sleeve for the disc. LP is pressed on 180 gram audiophile vinyl at Optimal (Germany) and comes in a heavyweight jacket printed on 100% recycled 24pt Orford paperboard with black poly-lined audiophile dust sleeve, a 12"x12" art/credit insert + 12"x19" art print poster, and a download card for a 320kbps MP3 copy of the album.
 
Tracklist
Side One
1 Song Siènne
2 Observer (Natalie's Song)
3 Doppler
4 Empathy (Ayuko's Song)
5 Aesthetics Of Disappearance
6 Désolé (Pardon The Interruption)
Side Two
7 Cinema Without People
8 Yung Werther (Ogun's Song)
9 Abjection
10 Disassociation (Kyla's Song)
11 Agnosia
12 Deaf (No More Songs)

 
Credits
Constructed and assembled by Jean Cousin
 
GUESTS
Natalie Reid: vocals on "Observer"
Ayuko Goto aka Noah: electric piano & vox/whispers on "Empathy"
Ogun aka Tide Jewel: drones & vocals on "Yung Werther"
Kyla Brooks aka Nag: vocals on "Disassociation"
 
Mastered by Ryan Morey at Ryebread