Italian experimental artist Lorenzo Senni first received a significant amount of critical attention with Quantum Jelly, a 2012 LP of glittering synth arpeggios reminiscent of trance at its circa-2000 commercial peak, yet devoid of beats, endless buildups and breakdowns, and pretty much every other element of the genre. Dubbing his style "pointillistic trance," the avant-garde Ferry Corsten gradually breathed more life into trance's hollowed-out skeleton with his subsequent releases, adding more bass, counterpoint, and progressive song structures, yet stopping short of constructing full-on trance anthems. He signed with Warp in 2016, and his long-awaited first full-length for the label, Scacco Matto, is easily his most impressive work yet.
Scacco Matto – Italian for ‘check mate’ – is Italian producer Lorenzo Senni‘s third record, and it’s a tricky one. An intense, “pointillistic trance” record (Senni’s own words), it offers the listener an exhausting, exhaustive journey through a kaleidoscopic, hyper-saturated mind. Scacco Matto is a rare beast, in that it offers both cerebral and guttural thrills in equal measure.
To promote Scacco Matto, his first album for Warp Records, Lorenzo Senni challenged his fans to a virtual game of chess. With a penchant for deconstruction and a back catalog defined by monochrome palettes of icy sawtooth waves, the Italian electronic musician does seem like the kind of guy who'd be handy at the game. The rules are fixed but the outcome is unpredictable; within extremely narrow parameters, players can display flair, cunning, and subterfuge.