Zaïmph is the solo project of artist, musician and performer Marcia Bassett. Working in areas of sound, improvisation, live composition and visual creations, Bassett’s work is equal parts trance and critique. Her sound pieces thread the needle between the conceptual and the sensual, between ritual invocation and cold semiotic gaze. Using handmade electronic instruments, prepared guitar, digital and analog synthesizers, manipulated vocals, field recordings and tape explorations, Bassett deftly wields philosophical systems to produce heady, experiential clouds; pushing through drones into provocative soundscapes – the intangible narratives of dreams.
As a co-founder of Philadelphia’s shambolic psychonauts un, tectonic drone pioneers Double Leopards and pysch-folk trio GHQ, Bassett is deeply entwined with the American noise underground, and has mapped regions still only dimly understood by subsequent sonic travellers. In the mid-2000s she joined Matthew Bower in Hototogisu, where her mastery of cacophonous eardrum shred reached monolithic proportions. She has been an active member of Andrew Lafkas’ large ensemble Alternate Models, and contributed to “Gen Ken’s Supergroup” performing at PS1 Solid Gold and Experimental Intermedia. Some collaborations include work with Helga Fassonaki, Margarida Garcia, Bridget Hayden, Samara Lubelski and Barry Weisblat.
Recent solo and collaborative presentations of her work include “Interwoven” a site-specific installation and performance in collaboration with Ursula Scherrer at Interference 2018, Tunisia; “Survival Of Laments” a live improvisation with Margarida Garcia and Manuel Mota at Festival Oude Muziek 2018, Utrecht; “Transitory Freezing of Perpetual Motion” improvised sound performance with Jenny Graf and dancers at Here-10 Evenings Festival, Sweden; “Field Recording with Zaïmph”, BOMB magazine and “Out of Line: Narcissister” live improvised sound interaction with the performance, High Line, NYC. Her latest Zaïmph solo release, ‘Rhizomatic Gaze’ is currently available through Drawing Room Records.
“…two side long trips of perfect, organic rainbow moves, from Heldon-esque squirrel runs to percussive throw-downs.” – Byron Coley & Thurston Moore, Arthur Magazine.
“[Double Leopards] founder Marcia Bassett has continued to release infrequent yet superb recordings under her solo alias Zaimph, with these particular collections stripping away the density that came with the Leopards’ collaborative barrage into something balancing that project’s crunching cacophony with a more explicit, singular minimalism.” – Paul Haney, Tiny Mix Tapes.
“It would be tough to write a history of the last two decades in underground music without including Marcia Bassett … and any angle would have to include Zaïmph, Bassett’s solo project. Through small-run releases on numerous labels including her own, Heavy Blossom), Zaïmph has carved out a unique take on decaying feedback, assaultive fuzz, echoey ambience, and abstract expression.” – Marc Masters, Pitchfork, The Out Door
“…blasting a hole through the flimsy wall that separates ‘dark psychedelic’ and ‘free drone-rock’.” – Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic
“Grim tales… coalesce into a leaden curtain of narcotic minimalism.” – Jim Haynes, The Wire