Zaïmph is the solo project of ambient noise artist Marcia Bassett. Although legendary for white-hot guitar and vocal brutality, Zaimph’s recent recordings and performances infuse cracked-raga song structures with dense electronic and synthesizer drones to create soundscapes where a lurking apocalypse is eclipsed by shimmering, meditative beauty.
As a co-founder of Philadelphia’s shambolic psychonauts un and tectonic drone pioneers Double Leopards, Bassett is deeply entwined with the American noise underground, and has mapped regions still only dimly understood by subsequent sonic travelers. From 2003-2008, Bassett joined Matthew Bower in Hototogisu, where her mastery of cacophonous eardrum shred achieved monolithic proportions. During the same period, she explored American underground psychedelic folk-improv music with Steve Gunn and Pete Nolan in GHQ, and with Tom Carter in Zaika.
Zaïmph CDs, LPs and tapes have appeared on independent labels such as Gift Tapes, Hospital Productions, W.M.O.r, Utech Records, Gypsy Sphinx, Volcanic Tongue and No Fun records. Bassett has released numerous Zaïmph recordings on her own Heavy Blossom imprint. In 2012, Bassett retired Heavy Blossom and started Yew, a label showcasing Zaïmph and other aesthetically allied projects.
In addition to her work with Zaïmph, Bassett is a frequent collaborator with a wide spectrum of musicians including Helen Espvall (Espers), Samara Lubelski, Margarida Garcia, Jenny Graf (Metalux), Taylor Richardson (Infinity Window), and Barry Weisblat.
“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.” – Pitchfork, The Out Door, 2010
“…ever-changing, fluid… intensely changing formations of blissful drone polyphony.” – foxy digitalis, 2007
“The riffs slowly crawl across the cold night air, slowly becoming more and more psychedelic… dissolving into pure madness.” – Brainwashed, Dec. 2007
“…blasting a hole through the flimsy wall that separates ‘dark psychedelic’ and ‘free drone-rock’.” – Paris Transatlantic, Summer 2009
“Grim tales… coalesce into a leaden curtain of narcotic minimalism.” – The Wire, Sept. 2007