Simona Zamboli ~ Loisirs

We can only imagine that Simona Zamboli has been overjoyed at the invitation to record numerous dance mixes over the past few months, as the DJ-artist has been unable to perform in clubs.  Now the long wait is over, and Europe is about to enjoy a period of reckless abandon unlike anything since the end of the Black Plague (when very few people were left to dance).

Loisirs is released in the wake of Omicron, which means it was produced when clubs were closed and global artists only dreamt of strobe lights and glow sticks.  As such, it is a curious concoction: an album for dancing in a time when dancers are scarce.  As a result, the layering is less dense and more pristine than that of Eternity.  The industrial undercurrent remains, melded to a trance-like aspect; and some tracks are long, “Maimo” nearly a quarter-hour and album opener “Faro” 11:11 (the time when dreamers make wishes).

These hypnotic pieces sound like the spirits of clubs who are missing their patrons.  If halls could talk ~ stutter and breathe, tap and creak ~ they might make mournful music such as this, emptied of flesh and blood, calling, please come home.  Every time the deepest bass enters, especially in the opener and the IDM-minded “Loungerie,” the dance floor beckons from behind chained doors.  In some instances, the tracks seem like skeletons: those of dancers left behind when the doors closed or those of emaciated patterns awaiting the nourishment of sweat.

The final quarter of the ten-minute “Live Fast, Die Young” introduces a distorted pattern, a signal trying to break through.  Then a brief detour to the chill-out lounge before the punchy “Blurry on me,” the album’s most accessible track.  The artist experiments with mood on the following piece, dropping the beats as there is no queue and requests are few.  Yet on “Transilvania,” one senses something churning, a majestic beast struggling to get out, to break through the skein, to ravage its way across the club, talons out, indiscriminate.  By the end of the album, we suspect it has chewed through the bars and begun to wiggle free.  “Emerald” contains the same distortion as “Live Fast, Die Young,” a shredded anger, a pent-up rage.  This is where we are now, rag dolls of raw emotion, wrung out, scratched and tattered, about to be unleashed.  (Richard Allen)

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