For today’s post, DOMINIONATED Managing Editor Geoff Parent explores an unconventional way of presenting a review that we’re calling Visual Reviews.
You can either scroll through the slides or read his review of “Victim” by Yves Jarvis below.

Listening to and evaluating a Yves Jarvis song on its own is somewhat strange.

Both 2017’s Good Will Come to You and last year’s The Same But By Different Means are wonderful, meandering records that explore folk, R&B, neo-soul, experimental pop, and ambient noise in contexts entirely unbound from traditional song structures. To listen to a Yves Jarvis record is to wander in deconstructed space, stumbling upon songs like ships in a dense fog. It makes for a truly singular experience.

This isn’t to say that Jean-Sebastian Audet’s past songs are unlistenable on their own; it’s more that the experience of taking in the records is so singular that it makes listening to any one song out of context seem incomplete. In truth, none of the singles from The Same But By Different Means struck me in any meaningful way until I heard them in their proper context. 

That changes with “Victim”, Audet’s first piece of new music since The Same But By Different Means.

Standing on its own, “Victim” delivers. It’s immediate and yet wonderfully subtle, landing  like a gentle breeze rustling through a canopy. Audet’s hushed, featherlight melodies float atop a simple folk arrangement layered with keys and guitar flourishes that further highlights his gift for crafting compositions that feel holistic and unrehearsed. Like a natural scene, familiar inscope and yet ripe with possibility. 

And yet, “Victim”‘s overall feeling of tranquility belies the deep-seeded tension of the lyrics:

“I’m a victor of process and bound to result just plowing the field relentlessly to no end. I’m a victim of the same old stuff my father was.”

“I’m a vitriolic mass of dynamite just bound to ignite between the ides of now and then.”

“I’m a victim of the rise, the rush beyond lexicon.”

The lyrics — along with the video’s agitated, looping, hand-drawn animation — betray a general sense of unease, anger, and malaise. 

Audet hints at the feeling of being trapped in recursive loops or cycles — ones inherited from history, ones imposed upon us by power structures, and ones that are self-imposed. The feeling can be absurd, disorienting, and often defies easy explanation. Hence the bewildering pairing of such languid, soothing music with lyrics that paint a far grimmer picture.

Even though “Victim” is able to stand on its own as one of the more complete and self-contained Yves Jarvis songs, it still leaves the listener with the feeling that something has been left unresolved. As it plays itself out like an open-ended question, it’s clear that “Victim” is but one fragment of something larger and far more exploratory.

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