On her new EP Infinity Club, Toronto producer Bambii bends time and space to her will. “Sydanie’s Interlude” opens as a nocturnal palate cleanser, the kind of after-dark R&B track that signals it’s almost closing time. But midway through, the tempo gradually slows, a supermassive black hole swallowing the beat. Within seconds, a jungle break bobs to the surface, and everything succumbs to its hard-charging drive. This is a kind of temporal insurgency: No expectation to conform to the demands of a particular BPM, no requirement to yield to the limits of genre at all. These are the moments when Bambii brings the promise of club music’s infinite iterations to life.
As Bambii, Kirsten Azan has spent the last decade making club music the way she wants: free of gatekeeping, pretension, or stylistic constraints. Her biannual rave Jerk, which she organized to disrupt the predominantly white electronic scene in Toronto, has become a staple for Black and brown club kids in the Canadian metropolis. You can sense her role as an agitator across Infinity Club too, where 2-step garage loops meet Jamaican Patois vocals, or tenebrous synth stabs keep the tempo under adamantine R&B melodies. On the deliciously bratty “Wicked Gyal,” Bambii contorts grimy synths and blaring airhorns over North London rapper and singer Lady Lykez’s playfully blunt verses. The lyrics are a warning to fuckboys and all clubgoers generally, with Lykez cautioning listeners that when she gets twisted, “anything goes.” But her laugh-out-loud admonition to her date is what makes the track a showpiece: “Thank the fool fi di wine and steak/Then belch in his face,” she sings over Azan’s warped synths, unleashing a booming, earth-shaking burp. These collages of dancehall, jungle, breakcore, industrial, and other sounds are a product of Azan’s Jamaican roots and of the famously multicultural milieu of her hometown. But they are not just a natural outgrowth of a scene’s specific cultural context; they double as an avowal of club music’s endless possibilities and an insistent reminder that Caribbean genres and electronic styles are far from distant, irreconcilable categories.
Azan produces like a DJ, which is to say that not a second is wasted on slowing down or catching your breath. Lead single “One Touch” is a rabid scramble of jungle and dancehall, a distorted voice warbling under the surface. Less than 45 seconds in, Azan is already pitch-shifting and chopping up vocals, which flash by like strobe lights. More layers of hard breaks crash into the production, and Azan adds a wobbly garage bassline to the delirium. Elsewhere, “Hooked,” featuring Aluna, begins as a slow-whining dancefloor tryst, but in the last 20 seconds, Bambii introduces dapples of piano keys and the midnight march of a dembow riddim. You can feel Azan’s instincts as a DJ in these moments; the transitions across Infinity Club are precise but fluid, like a seasoned selector fine-tuning the perfect blend.
In July, Azan told Crack Magazine that her ideal club experience is participatory. “I want chanting; I want dance-offs,” she declared. Even a passive listener will feel like a part of the party in Bambii’s universe: There are frisky come-ons, gruff dancefloor commands, and all kinds of invitations to movement. On “One Touch,” someone exclaims, “I saw you with her!” while “Sydanie’s Interlude” closes with an anonymous declaration: “I’m living life right now bitch!” Then, on the title track, a glitchy voice asks the DJ to give them “something nice.” These details are small but potent, generating a sense of conviviality you can only find at the club: It’s as if you’re overhearing ambient chatter while you squeeze by people on the dancefloor on your way to the bar—or as if someone is yelling into their phone in front of you in the line for the bathroom.
It is easy to imagine these songs blasting at a certain kind of gritty underground rave in any cosmopolitan city. Sometimes, that universality is to the EP’s detriment; there are moments when Infinity Club struggles to stand out from the sounds currently reigning over certain corners of the Internet (see “Body,” which invokes rap’s obsession with Jersey club). And in other moments, as on “Slip Slide,” it feels like the EP is retreading ground first paved by underground labels and producers of the mid 2010s—renegades who dared to dismantle hegemonic, monolithic ideas of what electronic music should sound like.
Even so, for Bambii, these elastic club constructions are organic. When a chorus of overlapping, multilingual voices welcomes us into her world in the intro (“You are now entering the infinity club”), it doesn’t feel forced or spurious. Rather, it’s a notice of the globally minded vision that follows, and an affirmation that club music can be as mutable and boundless as the African diaspora that helped inspire it in the first place.