As TOKiMONSTA, California producer Jennifer Lee’s charted a fascinating career over the past seven years, and Lune Rouge is her exhilarating next step. Her third proper long-player 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. 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 Gavin 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.”
“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.