1 thomas boucher + sonya stefan

Photo: Thomas Boucher & Sonya Stefan

After sharing the track “Dysfunctional Helper” in late January, Joni Void – the avant-garde electronic project of Montréal-based composer Jean Cousin – is unveiling a second song entitled “Abusers” from his forthcoming album Mise En Abyme. “Abusers” highlights Cousin’s ability to craft gorgeously layered sonic collages, dextrously incorporating minimal percussive elements and melodic tones sampled from Ai Aso’s “Most Children Do” with vocal contributions from fellow Montréal artist Sarah Pagé. Minute snippets of sound fit together in tight sequence, eventually giving way to stretched vocal arcs that remind us of the organic, deeply human instincts that root Cousin’s digital explorations.



Listen to the track “Abusers” now

To celebrate the launch of Mise En Abyme, Joni Void is teaming up with frequent collaborator Sonya Stefan to present the album in a uniquely visual manner. The two artists will pool their collective audio/visual talents into a live immersive performance, relying on digital and 16mm film projectors plus an array of other objects to translate the album into a captivating filmic experience. This special release show will take place on 6 April at Montréal’s La lumière collective. Full event details are available here.


Joni Void
Mise En Abyme

180gLP / CD / DL
Out 29 March 2019

1. Paradox (Introspection)
2. Dysfunctional Helper (with Noah)
3. Lov-Ender (with YlangYlang)
4. Abusers (with Sarah Pagé)
5. Non-Dit (with N NAO)
6. No Reply (Interruption)
7. Safe House
8. Cinetrauma
9. Voix Sans Issue
10. Deep Impression / Im Depression
11. Persistence
12. Resolve (Outrospection)


Mise En Abyme is the second full-length by Joni Void, the plunderphonic electronica project of France/Canada producer Jean Cousin, following his acutely accomplished and acclaimed 2017 debut album Selfless. (#8 Experimental Album of 2017 at Pitchfork, among other accolades.)
Mise En Abyme refers to the aesthetic technique of putting a copy within the work itself, a story within a story, as a metafunction that aims to reflect the object back onto the perceptual subject in an explicitly conceptual way. Cousin also plays upon the literal etymology of the term – “placed into abyss” – invoking the recursive neuroses of identity and self-consciousness, the lacuna of seeing/being-seen and projection/introspection; the metaphoric standing between two mirrors, plunged into spatio-temporal disorientation through reflections multiplied to an impossibly infinite vanishing point.
Consistent with Selfless, the primary raw material for the sample-based cut-up songcraft on Mise En Abyme is Cousin’s recordings of the voices of various friends. His self-professed body/voice dysmorphia and search for the disembodied-yet-emotional transcendent subject continues to mandate the use of other (mostly wordless) voices in the construction of his sublimely affecting electronic-minimalist compositions. But where Selfless was a restless, kinetic and visceral work of outer projection, Mise En Abyme is markedly more introspective and meditative – explicitly in search of intimacy and recuperative beauty.
Grappling with a cascade of heartbreaks and discontinuities over the past year, Cousin also calls the new album a “time-travel experiment”, as he culls sounds from devices and sources spanning childhood to the present (phones, cameras, video games, home movies) to retrieve and reframe subjective memories, histories and “regressions through former selves” through immersion in the evocative potential of the mostly wordless voices of others. The resulting sonic portraits simultaneously convey formally abstract dislocations and highly emotive warmth, interiority, humanity and specificity. Side A especially highlights these works – the “with people” half of the album, replete with contemplative, melancholic songs, each featuring a deconstructed performance by a different female voice, propelled to varying degrees with additive rhythmic and textural layers. Side B is the “isolation” half: vocal samples continue to make appearances, now including Cousin’s own voice on “Voix Sans Issue”, and his own lyrics on the computer-narrated text-to-speech spoken word of the self-confessional “Deep Impression” – but the contrasting vibe is more claustrophobic, anxious and febrile. Mise En Abyme ends with a throwback to Cousin’s pre-Joni Void keyboard-based works as johnny_ripper on the gorgeous Rhodes piece “Persistence”, while the closing exuberant maximalist jam of “Resolve” fittingly samples every previous song and locks the album into a self-referential recursive sequence. Thanks for listening.

Photo: Thomas Boucher & Sonya Stefan

Critical acclaim for 2017’s Selfless:

“Selfless absolutely judders with physicality and viscera.” – Pitchfork 7.7
Pitchfork’s #8 Experimental Album of 2017
“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!
“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