Jonathan Robert is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who is best known for being a co-founder and co-lead vocalist of the internationally acclaimed JOVM mainstay act Corridor. Robert is also known for his work as an animator and visual artist.
Back in 2019 Robert released his solo-debut as Jonathan Personne, Histoire Naturelle, an album that sonically drew from desert dream pop, Western Spaghetti rock and jangle pop. Thematically, the album focused on the potential end of the world. (Hitting the nail on the head a bit too hard, perhaps?)
Robert’s Jonathan Personne sophomore album, 2020’s Guillaume Chiasson-product Disparitions was primarily written while the Montreal-based artist was touring with Corridor, and came about in a quick and fluid fashion. While seeing him continuing with his particular brand of intimate and sensitive songwriting, Disparitions was largely inspired by a moment when music became a source of profound disgust for him. “I spent a lot of time touring away from home. Towards the end I felt like I was reluctantly going to do something that I had longed wished for,” Robert explained in press notes.
When he was able to do, Robert went to Quebec City-based Le Pantoum, where he and producer Guillaume Chiasson used analog recording techniques to record the album’s arrangements of electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, Rhodes and timpani, as well as electronic samples, mellotron and synths.
Robert recently signed with Montreal-based label Bonsound, who will release his latest single, the Emmanuel Éthier-produced “Un homme sans visage.” “Un homme sans visage,” sees the Montreal-based artist eschewing the dense and complex arrangements on his previously released material, and going for a simpler, almost minimalist approach. Centered around a gorgeous Mellotron melody, jangling guitar, a simple yet propulsive rhythm, bursts of lap steel, Robert’s plaintive falsetto and big hooky choruses, the new single manages to be breezy yet deliberately crafted — while being lovingly inspired by the sounds of the late 60s. But under the breeziness is a song that’s actually a bittersweet sort of modern fable about a man, whose face is badly burned in a fire.
Directed by Robert, the accompanying video plays with shadows and light, amplifying contrasts and the image’s grain to create a dusty, old-timey aesthetic, while capturing the artist performing the song.