It’s difficult to have a serious discussion of underground music produced in the United States over the last 20 years without including Marcia Bassett, a musician and multi-media artist who’s wielded an assortment of instruments in unconventional ways in unconventional contexts. Prepared guitar, voice, electronic effects, computer treatments, analog strategies – she fluctuates seamlessly between solo and collaborative work. Equal parts trance and critique, her work threads the needle between the conceptual and the sensual, between ritual invocation and cold semiotic gaze. You need to lose yourself to find yourself, and Marcia Bassett’s music is a potent facilitator. Bassett deftly wields philosophical systems to produce heady, experiential clouds; pushing through drones into provocative soundscapes – the intangible narratives of dreams. What seems clear one second can become perplexing the next.
After her time in the notorious group Un (with Grant Acker and Fursaxa’s Tara Burke), she co-founded Double Leopards, one of the more blissfully confounding projects of its time; one that pushed the 90’s lo-fi, subversive stylings to abstract even further into psychedelic unpredictability as that century rolled into this one.
Following Double Leopards’ dissolution, Bassett has performed and recorded incantatory solo music under the Zaïmph moniker, in addition to a host of other activities. The projects are many, – Hototogisu (with Skullflower’s Matthew Bower), GHQ (with Steve Gunn and Pete Nolan of Magik Markers), Zaika (with Tom Carter of Charalambides), plus collaborations with Samara Lubelski, Bridget Hayden, Barry Weisblat, Helga Fassonaki, Margarida Garcia and Manuel Mota.
Bassett is also a participant in ensembles that explore improvised sound and graphic scores. She’s a member of Andrew Lafkas’ large ensemble Alternate Models; the group presented “Two Paths with Active Shadows Under Three Moons and Surveillance,” at Experimental Intermedia and Eyebeam, NYC; she also contributed to Generations Unlimited’s “Gen Ken’s Supergroup” performing at PS1 Solid Gold and Experimental Intermedia.