Joni Void is the newly minted pseudonym of producer Jean Cousin – known until now 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.
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 intersubjectivity 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)"; "Dissociation (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.