ZOË MC PHERSON
Described as a “vanguard” by British publication Mixmag, Zoë Mc Pherson is a multimedia artist whose practice absorbs elements of performance, sound design, installation art and DJing. Additionally, Mc Pherson curates the SFX label with their long-time collaborator Alessandra Leone.
It was an early passion for jazz that sparked Mc Pherson’s curiosity in experimental music’s rugged fringes. Soon enough, their interest led towards electronic sounds, and Mc Pherson’s inquisitive ear evolved rapidly as they began experimenting with DIY recording techniques and computer software. Now based in Berlin, the French-Northern Irish musician straddles artistic disciplines – their albums, EPs and 12″s only tell part of a story that includes kinetic live shows, and lavish interactive experiences.
After releasing their immersive 2018 debut album “String Figures” on the SVS imprint, Mc Pherson released 2020’s rhythmically complex “States of Fugue” – described by Berlin’s Hardwax as “adventurous” – on their own SFX imprint. Since its inception in 2020, SFX has released an ongoing collaborative audiovisual composition featuring 43 artists including Aho Ssan, Katie Gately, ZULI, KMRU, and a vinyl 12″ from Klahrk amongst others. The composition, titled “XquisiteForce.AV“, was presented as part of Berlin’s CTM Festival in 2021 as a virtual digital exhibition, sidestepping restrictions with an innovative 3D environment.
Since then, Mc Pherson has assembled several sound installations for Berlin’s Silent Green and Alhambra, performed at international festivals and venues such as Moscow’s Mutabor, Malmö’s Inkonst, Madrid’s LEV, Amsterdam’s Fiber, Berlin’s CTM and initiated a collaboration with sound artist Jessica Ekomane. The duo’s jagged debut live set was filmed at Berghain Halle and broadcast by ARTE TV, and their first recording was released in 2021 on Ostgut Ton’s “Fünfzehn + 1” compilation. Mc Pherson also recently embarked on an ambitious project alongside two organizations in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, to invite musicians and designers to perform and hold workshops at a brand new queer-owned club, and the city’s newest art center.
This year, Mc Pherson will release their next statement on Berlin’s Pendulum Recordings label. Entitled “Abyss Elixir“, it continues where “States of Fugue” left off, crawling out of recognizable electronic templates and dissolving sci-fi sonics in dubbed-out rhythmic vortexes.
Mala Herba is a solo project of sound artist and queer music activist Zosia Hołubowska. Based on traditional music, magic, and demonology of Eastern Europe, Mala Herba’s performances are sonic rituals. The music draws from darkwave and minimal synth- wave but sometimes the melody cracks, the voice becomes a magic spell and the song transforms into a noise soundscape. Polyrhythmic pulsations are stacked on top layers of harsh noise and processed archival samples and then arpeggiated bass kicks in again and the music oscillates between haunted italo-disco and EBM.
Morast is the solo-project of viennese artist and musician Moritz Morast, that explores the melting continuum of noise, industrial rhythms and free musical forms. Coming from a background as a designer of musical electronics and his activities in the viennese free-improv-scene, as a member of the free-jazz-noise-bands FS Massaker and Mozo Mozo, Morast combines approaches from sequenced electronics with the immediacy and unpredictability of hardcore improvisation. His debut record “Drawing Figures into Negative Space” was released by Czech imprint Baba Vanga in 2020 and captures Morast vision of raw sounds melting into fluid motion. It got critical acclaimed by the Quietus for: “pushing away techno tropes and ushering in as many spontaneous and thought- provoking inquiries into rhythm and colour as possible.”