Hyponik

Review: S Chioni – ‘Amour détritus’ (Self-Released)

The Montreal-based artist embraces yet another change of sound with an EP of sweeping breakbeat and elegiac electronics.

There’s confidence running through this new EP from Simon Chioini, and it’s signalled by the solemn slow-motion piece that ends it. “Terrorized (loving eyes)” is a ballad in the best sense: sad, but with a kernel of optimism. 

The Montreal-based artist has come a long way since 2016, when he also released under the pseudonym, DJ Voilà. But so has the landscape of the Canadian electronic scene. The hype has tilted from blissed-out Vancouver toward clubbier Montreal labels, from Moodhut, 1080p and Pacific Rhythm, to Naff and DustWorld. Canadian music’s shadow is growing in response to its light.

As DJ Voilà, Chioini released on the now-extinct 1080p label. 2016’s ‘Aimless Summer’ was a lighthearted affair. It felt less impactful when it went for the dancefloor, but it’s more pixelated experiments suggested ingenuity.

Chioini trained at Montreal’s Conservatoire de Musique, and I sense an artistic restlessness in his output. In that same year, Chioini found a more expressive sound under his own name. His excellently weird release on Where To Now? embraced a glitchier, noisier, non-linear playground of sound. 

Four years later Amour Détritus, again, is starkly different. It takes influences from a colder brand of electronics: stymied, mangled breaks lash out, acid lines slither and brooding synths obscure. This EP builds worlds and carries you through them: it’s full of cinematic intention, with the press release citing the Russian auteur Tarkovsky. Not a bad shout. 

The closer, in particular, takes us there. Piano and synths console and encourage over broken percussion. It swells and recedes subtly. It’s arresting, like a seven minute close-up of a loved one, each micro-emotion flickering across a placid face telling a thousand stories.  

But to reach this zenith, “Terrorized (loving eyes)” climbs upon the preceding set-pieces. The drama that you find on the first three songs earns the integrity to land such an emotional blow. “Wasteland (the wish)” is beatless and murky before frustrated breaks struggle to burst out, then snap back. Then, “Metallic sheen” and “Overworked” bring the urgency. The breaks, acid lines, and arpeggios whisk you over a blurred landscape. 

It’s a rush. Chioini has harnessed 90s rave nostalgia on these two tracks to propulsive effect. I picture the slow motion pan through the Matrix Reloaded’s contorting carnival of Zion: a post-apocalyptic mad one for the ages. Amour Détritus is as much leather-clad clubbers as it is Russian art cinema. 

S Chioni’s ‘Amour détritus’ is out now. 

Grab it here. 

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