On Less Is More: Lorenzo Senni’s Music

Lorenzo Senni has an interesting musical thing going on. On his recent recordings Superimpositions (2014) and Quantum Jelly (2012) he makes a kind of electronic trance music that does away with the beats, leaving only pulsing, echoing, and arpeggiating synthesizer chord sequences. Without the metrical context of the relentless 4/4 thump, the synth chords are like bird formations against a clear blue sky–darting up and down in sync, careening en masse, tracing large arcs against nothingness. It’s a repetitive music, yet it manages to stay interesting.

In a YouTube video, Senni talks about his interest in understanding the structure of trance music, especially its dramatic build-ups and breakdowns–those moments just before the beats drop back in. He also talks about his interest in laser light shows to accompany his work.

All in all, Senni’s aesthetic is compelling for at least three reasons. First, it’s a dance music denied its beats–but intriguingly, not its rhythm–perhaps so it can gain entry to art gallery performance spaces. Second, it sounds like nothing else around in electronic music. Third, it demonstrates that sometimes you have to take away stuff to reveal the shape of a thing.

For the curious, an incisive piece on how Senni’s music may illustrate philosopher Zygmunt Bauman’s concept of “pointillistic time” can be read here.