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“We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind—mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality.”
“The writer’s task is to invent reality”…leads us, inevitably, to ask ourselves; what is real?
When Yasmin Kuymizakis, Joon, was growing up in Malta reality was to fulfil Thoreau’s analysis of life…lead a life of quiet desperation and then take to the grave the song still in her.
When I was 18 I was involved in a car crash, I can still hear the roar of the engine, feel the thud of the car rolling and twisting in the air, smell the petrol as it soaked into my clothes. It was terrifying. For weeks afterwards I felt afraid and aware of my own mortality. I think that it was the starting point for my own battles with anxiety and depression…but I’m no expert.
When Joon was involved in a car crash it became the starting point for something else entirely, a determination to take the song within and to make it real. To make sure that her voice was heard. To give form to the thoughts, dreams and ideas that were swirling inside her head. So she did. The results are one of the most astonishing debut albums in a very long time.
“That car crash was a wake-up call, it made me realise how precious life is and I started living the life I felt was worth living.”
A life worth living.
What would that look like?
What would it sound like?
While “Dream Again” is, quite clearly, a synth pop album, drawing on the delights of the electopop scene of the early eighties…including a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough”…it is, in fact, a soul album.
Not the hand clapping, foot stomping, funky butt shaking soul of Tamla, Stax and Atlantic at their peak but rather music from the soul, music for the soul.
The sounds here will, at times, fill the dance floor…of course…but, underneath the glossy beats and the shiny production, courses and pulses the sound of an artist presenting who she is, what she was and what she may yet become. There are songs of heartbreak here, or at least songs that will break your heart with their fragile beauty…just listen to “Whisper” and tell me you didn’t shed a tear. There are dark, pulsing, pulsating, electro anthems like “Good Times” which may well be the soundtrack to your summer…as long as it is a cruel, cruel summer. There are bold and brave decisions aplenty, most notably “Orqod” which is sung entirely in Maltese.
This is pop music but it is also something more…outsider art, hope and joy, ethereal and poignant, retrofuturism. Joon is art and artist. Joon is electronic and human heart. Joon is now and then. Joon is your favourite new artist. Trust me on this.