Video Premiere: Joni Void + N NAO – “Je Vois / Non-Dit”

Constellation Records is now halfway through its commendable Corona Borealis series of digital single and experimental film releases, the proceeds from which all go directly to the artists involved to help support them throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Its eighth instalment, a collaborative effort by Montreal’s Joni Void and N NAO (aka Naomie de Lorimier) follows works by luminaries such as Markus Floats, Fly Pan Am and Efrim Manuel Menuck, and is beaten in length only by the towering half-hour served up earlier this month by JOYFULTALK.

“Je Vois / Non-Dit” comprises two tracks performed live and edited together to form a single long, vaporous entity that builds upon the themes and structures exercised throughout the duo’s exceptional Nature Morte album, with the additional breathing room afforded by the live settings (in this case Montreal’s famous Casa del Popolo and the stunning Église St- Édouard). Both venues are suitably flooded by sound as the haunted torch singer of “Je Vois” begins to glitch and gurgle under an amorphous weight of Lynchian chronokinesis and flows gradually into the clicky, beat-driven “Non-Dit” on the back of Eddie Wagner’s disarmingly plaintive flute.

“Je Vois” is in fact a remix of sorts, featuring Naomie de Lorimier’s isolated vocals looped and manipulated by Void following a recording session with Everyday Ago. The pair did not perform the track together live until over a year later when Void’s Mise en Abyme LP was launched – that album, as it happens, also features “Non-Dit.” So fruitful is their partnership, we might hope to hear more from them in the near future and for months to come: “Voice, tape samples and field recordings meet montage and electronic production to form a collage of sorts – an abstract puzzle unfolding both our sound-worlds,” says Void. “In a way, this single is a return to the origins that led to our collaborative project. During summer 2020 we recorded enough material together for 4 albums.”

The accompanying video comes courtesy of the artist Sonya Stefan, who has used test footage taken from her own MUTEK collaboration with Void from late 2019, at which both “Je Vois” and “Non-Dit” were performed. All manner of analogue trickery, including a 16 mm projector beaming its light from a rotating turntable, adds gauzy layers to the spectral atmosphere. Though the screen remains in darkness for sizeable portions of the track’s opening minutes, opalescent flickers of light prick the veil and gradually bloom, emerging ghost-like from an empty stage to seemingly take possession of the void. The effect at times is not unlike the legendary “Stargate” denouement to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and it is similarly worthy of your total immersion. Taken as a whole, the three artists have created some experience.

As with all Underscore premieres, we are honoured to have been chosen to present the first showing of “Je Vois / Non-Dit” on an English-speaking site and we hope you enjoy the ride. Please support the artists by downloading your copy.