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Yves Jarvis’ new record, The Same But By Different Means, is a new cycle. Yves Jarvis is itself a clean slate, a recasting of Montreal-based musician Jean-Sebastian Audet. Audet previously created under the name Un Blonde, a name which he says was, at one point, all he wanted. “I felt like I had found, finally, phonetically, the perfect project name with Un Blonde,” he says.
But of course, things change. “Now I’m at a place where I feel like when I hear it, I don’t like it because I don’t identify with it at all,” he continues. “I knew I needed something that I could identify with.” Each aspect of Audet’s work is immensely personal, and Yves Jarvis reflects this literally. Yves is Audet’s middle name, while Jarvis is his mother’s last name.
With The Same But By Different Means, Audet continues to create music that is at once warm, haunting, and unfamiliar while remaining singularly inviting and kind—a mélange that reflects both comfort and its counterpart. The record is brimming with careful folk noir, tender R&B flourishes, pillowy vocal beds that seem to neither begin nor end, and a punkish ambivalence towards saccharine melodics that traditionally dominate the previous three structures. Songs on the record range from 14 seconds long to over eight minutes. The title is itself a step further: with each new project, Audet adds a word to the title.
Each of his releases is driven by a colour: a visual and thematic leitmotif, a palette that reflects and refracts intentions. Un Blonde’s 2017 LP Good Will Come To You was yellow, which Audet cites as his favourite colour. Blue, the colour of The Same But By Different Means, is less endearing. “Blue is more so the colour that I think is imposed on me,” he remarks quietly. “Where the last record was the joy of the morning, and optimism, this record is the pain of the night before sleep.”
“Fruits of Disillusion,” the record’s 12th track, inhabits this aura. “It still weighs so heavy on me/Still unfurling, ever unfurling,” he coos in a beautiful, breathy rasp before shakers and organ arrive like morning light. Follow-up “That Don’t Make It So,” offers an alternative. Over a stuttering bass groove and cheeky keys, Audet challenges in layered vocal harmonies, “Society has set that tone but that don’t make it so/Despite how it appears to you, that don’t make it true.”
The second half of the record, Audet says, is unrest. “It’s unrest, but it’s that spectrum of unrest. It’s not always chaos, but sometimes it is.” This tonal discord extended to the process of creating the record, which spanned three years of capturing of sound, relinquishing of possible paths, and demos both scrapped and salvaged. Audet’s gear is essential to his vision—they are the means. But his most prized equipment broke down frequently while he was recording. ”Everything falling apart, all the time,” he deadpans.