“I’m following an inner vibe without any limitations. It’s not planned, I just follow my own current, stay open for things to happen and welcome them.”
– Stellar Om Source
Riding on silicon high-octane distress, Joy One Mile is essentially a meditation on one’s psychogeographic state in flux — the dromoscopic stance, if you will. Christelle Gualdi has always employed a New Age-y vision with Stellar Om Source, but here she pairs her warm synth tones with the retro-futurist rush of Detroit techno and Chicago house, her added twist lifting the sounds and ideas (of artist like The Martian) to a place of abstraction.
The “plastiphilic” lens of “Pan Amour” combines mid-80s R&B with fast-paced, stuttering electro, lurching her previous “jacuzzi” vibe into more remote regions. “Elite Excel” is the sublime clustering of crystalline figures: a rounded fleshy kick, scrunchy contracting pads, an elongating synth line, the whipping 303. It’s hard to control one’s body when being shot through with such a sonically geometric track.
This idea of controlling one’s self seems to be an effect of (as opposed to be the purpose of) Gualdi’s work on Joy One Mile. “The Range” never quite falls into place, dipping and dodging its axis. In fact, all of these songs come off more as a type of performance art, akin to what would soundtrack a Situationist dancer. The songs are built from a very synesthetic root, geometric in form and progress from the logical ends and progressions of those very shapes, each track being an exercise in how far she can push the movements and symmetrical stance of the “shape.”
Joy One Mile takes a very “recognition-by-components” reconstructing geonic images — i.e., archaic internet archaeology images — to amass a new “real.” The retro-futurism here — which differs/advances slightly from the Underground Resistance ideology — is more of a pataphor, having the retroactive knowledge of the past while experiencing it in the present. This almost-paradox is where the above quote comes in: Gualdi takes an observational though largely uncontrolled approach to her expressivity. She cages herself in through the obvious electro and New Age signifiers, but rather than simply adapt that, she improvises the songs live, forcing a plastic “human-ness” into the record. Although she doesn’t take this idea as far as, say, Polysick or as Laurel Halo does with her Behind the Green Door EP, Gualdi is certainly onto something: she wants to break herself down and drag her influences, her anxiety down with her.