- Since the late 2000s, Lorenzo Senni has taken a destructive path through electronic music, mulching together glitch and ambient, pushing digital audio to its limits and reducing trance to its beaming core. In trance, the Italian artist has found his muse. 2012's Quantum Jelly was the first major step into the unique sound that has come to define Senni, and even at the beginning his ideas were clearly outlined. On every lengthy, slowly unspooling piece, only one instrument was used (Roland's JP-8000), which was recorded live to two channels without overdubs. Trance had rarely sounded so austere and certainly never so clinical.
Four years later, the only real difference to Persona, Senni's first record for Warp, is that the synth's sounds are now multi-tracked, edited and treated with effects. Yet those seemingly small changes to the approach have afforded this singular style a wellspring of range and expression. The syncopated, whipcrack rhythms and fizzing supersaw waveforms streaked throughout "One Life, One Chance" ricochet between stuttering frenzy and blasts of anthemic hooks, before Senni breaks the track down to its delirious center and then blows it into towering proportions. This all happens within three minutes. Like a manifesto or a battlecry, "Rave Voyeur" maximizes Senni's so-called "pointillistic trance" as a diamond-cut alloy of euphoria, chugging rhythm, harmonic elegance and hyperreal sound design. You probably won't hear a better executed synth composition this year.
There isn't one drum sound used on Persona, but for all intents and purposes it's an EP of dance music—physical, percussive and loop-based. Despite their stark arrangements, these six tracks can be more slippery than a SOPHIE single, club spectacles rather than bangers. Songs like "Win In The Flat World" and "emotiva1234" dazzle and confound with their walloping chord stabs, popcorn-popping synth tones and comically bright melodies. Only after digesting them completely might you really be able to dance along with them.
Persona's penultimate track dials things down. "Angel" is trance as balladry: slow and dreamlike but with the same weight and hyperbolic urgency of everything else. That Senni can pull off such a balance without losing his core ethos is the mark of an artist at the height of his abilities.
01. Win In The Flat World
02. Rave Voyeur
04. One Life, One Chance
06. Forever True