A striking debut album streaked with colourful rhythms that resonate outside the club.
In the midst of a pandemic, I've found myself veering away from dance music, opting instead for a more soothing palette. But while most of the tracks here would be right at home on a packed dance floor, there's respite to be found on Modern Bliss, a record that sees Campbell confidently asserting her signature sound, borrowing from the '90s and moulding those motifs into something fresh and forward-facing, adding swathes of lush texture and extra-terrestrial sound design.
Campbell has been making electronic music for most of her life. She was rapping and making beats as KayTee by the time she was nine, and before Roza Terenzi, she was producing and playing live in and around Perth as Catlips. The first Roza Terenzi record landed on Australian label Good Company in November 2017. This alias takes inspiration from Dr. Fiorella Terenzi, an Italian astrophysicist, author and musician who in 1991 released Music From The Galaxies, a collection of recordings created by collecting radio waves and converting them into sound. The scattered snippets available online sound eerie and unfamiliar, composed of oscillating whistles, icy bleeps and dissonant layers of drone. There are spacey bleeps and squelchy alien-like synths in Campbell's music; Ivy Barkakati's vocal on the title track could comfortably soundtrack intergalactic space travel in a film. But her vision for Roza Terenzi, although cosmic, is a harmonious, groove-led and colourful affair.
Modern Bliss is underpinned by a hybrid of breaks, house and electro, but incorporates flavours of trance, psytrance, prog house, dub and jungle, too. Opener "Jungle In The City" is a blissed-out, downtempo cut with weightless pads and a shimmering vocal sample (Campbell's father and his band Beatworld released an album of the same name in 1998). "Spiral" shares this downtempo tip, drawing from familial roots in dub and delivering a woozy, low-slung daydream with a grooving bassline.
There's an aversion to darkness on Modern Bliss. Wherever there's a transition into deeper territory—the growling acid licks in "Total Eclipse," or the rolling sub and warped vocal riff in "That Track (Rewired Mix)—I'm struck by how the energy is always lifted by twinkling synths and ethereal pads. "My Reality Cheque Bounced" is the moody exception. The final track on the record, it demands a return to the club with its jungle rhythms and rumbling low-end.
In the past, Roza Terenzi's music has been described as fidgety. Modern Bliss shows no such jitter. In a time when we're all in an uneasy state of flux, Modern Bliss is a tightly produced, fluid and euphoric listening experience, even in the comfort of your own home.