Lorena Quintanilla’s journey as J. Zunz continues with her third solo release, and her second for Rocket Recordings after 2020’s Hibiscus. Recorded in a vociferously windy area of Enseneda, Mexico, where Lorena spent a strict lockdown, Del Aire’ exorcises the troubles she encountered during the period, in the process creating both what she describes as a “continuity and discontinuity” from Hibiscus, and extracting a similar, yet fresh strain of emotional complexity. With the atmospheric and natural theme of air at the heart of the creative process, Lorena has created an extraordinarily spacious work.
The synths of ‘Lineal’ thrive on pulse-like repetition, gathering from a luscious sweeping panorama into a bruising orchestral crescendo. Elsewhere, as on Del Aire the discordant-meets-melodic sonics dwell somewhere adjacent to Gazelle Twin. Both Lorena’s vocals and her distinctive crystalline avant aesthetic are writ large throughout the reverberations of ‘Cruce’ and ‘Horizonte’ as well as on the anxiety-rending exhortations closing the surreally meditative ‘Outsides’. ‘Parts’ beautifully reflects organic instrumentation through Lorena’s electronic prism. ‘Raìfaga’, meanwhile, sees caustic drums enact glitchy, stop-start rhythms. Here, and on the hypnotic ‘Nina’, Lorena gilds the narcotic power of Miles Davis’s ‘On The Corner’ – with trumpet recorded by Freddie Murphy (Father Murphy) – into electronically contorted shapes. Through the mellifluous repetition, the cathartic buzzsaw moments and the elemental force of the album’s conceptual core, Del Aire acts as an intimate echo chamber vicariously healing the listener’s wounds besides Lorena’s own.