As TOKiMONSTA, California producer Jennifer Lee's charted a fascinating career over the past seven years, and 'Lune Rouge' is her exhilarating next step. The third proper long-player from TOKiMONSTA is both a logical progression of her sound and a surprising left turn from an artist that rarely ceases to surprise. A smoky, patient, and altogether lovely collection, 'Lune Rouge' mixes modern sensibilities with old-school sounds to make for a heady brew of moonlit music.
"'Lune Rouge' is the culmination of all the experiences I've encountered so far," Lee explains the album's genesis, which she started work on in late 2015 before being diagnosed with a rare neurovascular condition called Moyamoya. A year later, after two major brain surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, 'Lune Rouge' was finished. "During its creation, I faced some of the most difficult and uplifting moments of my life. Seeing myself at the edge of my own mortality and how I chose to move past is a story told in this album."
Lee's work as TOKiMONSTA gained widespread recognition from the very start: her 2010 debut album, 'Midnight Menu', saw release on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder imprint and cemented her reputation as a formidable presence of the then-emerging West Coast beat scene. 2011's Brainfeeder release 'Creature Dreams' EP expanded on Midnight Menu's palette with successful forays into vocal-led cuts thanks to the presence of regular collaborator Gavin Turek; the 2013 LP and Ultra Music debut 'Half Shadows' found Lee exploring darker shades of her sound with guests such as Kool Keith and MNDR in tow.
Following 'Half Shadows' release, Lee collaborated with artists like
Jessie Ware, Anderson .Paak, and Kelly Rowland, while also putting out
several records on her own Young Art Records imprint that served as
practical blueprints for the dusky environs of 'Lune Rouge'.
Mini-albums 'Desiderium' from 2014 and last year's 'FOVERE' elegantly deployed pitch-shifted vocal samples to add new textures to the TOKiMONSTA sound, and in 2015 she added her capable touch to Turek's own mini-album, 'You're Invited'. All these roads lead to 'Lune Rouge', a lush work that stands as the summation of what she's been cooking up since 'Half Shadows'.
TOKiMONSTA's sound has always kept one foot in the pop stratosphere, but 'Lune Rouge' finds her diving in with glee. Her effervescent beats serve as the perfect framework for these gorgeous songs: Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna weaves in and out of water-droplet tones and a stuttering chipmunk'd sample on lead single 'Don't Call Me'. "I'm super grateful to have created a song with Yuna," Lee gushes. "I was a fan of hers for a while, so I have to shout out the world wide web for allowing two people on different continents the ability to create together. The message of the track is really more than unwanted phone calls, but the idea of people deciding to show up only when they need you."
Elsewhere, the MNDR-featuring 'We Love' serves up perfect summer vibes with aquatic synth stabs and an instantly infectious chorus. Featuring a searing vocal take from Selah Sue, 'I Wish I Could' fuses the clean-sounding classicism of contemporaries like Rhye with a buzzing throb that embodies the modern cool of contemporary R&B - and 'No Way', with features from Isaiah Rashad, Joey Purrp, and Ambre, sounds lovingly ripped from the dusty glory days of 90s hip-hop.
"I chose the title 'Lune Rouge', which translates to 'red moon', because I think people perceive it to hold ominous weight," Lee explains her thinking behind the album's title. "However, a red moon is rare and pretty awesome event from a scientific perspective and, to me, means significant change". And 'Lune Rouge' is the latest change in her prismatic career - a testament to the healing powers of art in the face of insurmountable difficulty.
15 Jan, 2020
TOKiMONSTA's new album 'Oasis Nocturne', is released on 7th March on Young Art Records and is previewed in DJ Mag.
It is preceded by the new single 'Fried For The Night', featuring Earthgang.
09 Dec, 2019
TOKiMONSTA shares her new video for the track 'Love That Never'.
12 Apr, 2019
The Mad Cool Festival takes place in Madrid in July & features Primary Talent International artists:
...Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
29 Mar, 2019
TOKiMONSTA in on the cover of Billboard's April issue.
27 Mar, 2019
The Bluedot festival takes place at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire from 18th-21st July, and features Primary Talent International artists:
01 Mar, 2019
TOKiMONSTA has released a new single, 'Strange Froot' (ft. Ambre) on her own Young Art imprint.
22 Jan, 2019
The Bluedot festival takes place at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, from 18th to 21st July and features Primary Talent International artists:
Tickets on sale from 24th January.
20 Dec, 2018
The Mad Cool festival takes place in Madrid from 11th - 13th July & features Primary Talent International artists:
Thursday 11th July
...Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Saturday 13th July
...The Cure (Headline)
10 Dec, 2018
The 61st Grammy Awards nominees for the 'Best Dance / Electronic Album', include the following Decked Out & Primary Talent International artists.
Winners will be announced on Sunday 10th February.
...Sofi Tukker - 'Treehouse'
...Justice - 'Woman Worldwide'
...TOKiMONSTA - 'Lune Rouge'
25 Sep, 2018
TOKiMONSTA is featured in episode 20 of the Netflix series 'Explained'.