Most of us probably don’t think of chess as the most tense and exciting game, but it actually conveys a lot of emotions: it’s a continuous struggle between two parts, a tension that find its climax in the checkmate. That’s the story and the feeling behind Scacco Matto (checkmate in Italian), the new album by Lorenzo Senni for Warp Records.
In this case, the chess game is obviously an inner one between different ideas and influences within Lorenzo’s mind that results in his most complex project so far. The basics of his production style are still in plain sight but the pointillistic approach to trance that distinguished his previous work is brought in different directions, out of the dance-floor and into a more melodic, song-oriented dimension. Tracks like “Dance Tonight Revolution Tomorrow” and “The Power of Failing” are still quite close to what we heard on Persona but they explore dreamier soundscapes and moods. “Move In Silence (Only Speak When It’s Time To Say Checkmate)” and “Wasting Time Writing Lorenzo Senni Songs” are probably the clearest examples of the innovations that Lorenzo has brought to his production; his use of trance build-ups doesn’t result in eternal crescendos anymore, creating a more complex and captivating album. Don’t get me wrong, Persona and Quantum Jelly were great and pioneering but Senni’s pursuit of a new, hybrid sound is dynamic and well executed.
Hardcore fans of Lorenzo’s previous works may be put off initially by Scacco Matto, but it’s great to see that one of the most accomplished artists in the electronic music scene is able to question himself and evolve. Scacco Matto is an excellent and enjoyable album, but it’s even more exciting to think of it as a stepping stone towards new sonic territory for the Warp-signed artist.