Berlin's Zoë Mc Pherson refracts sonic psychedelia into precarious dancefloor experiments on 'Pitch Blender', leaning into a bass-heavy multi-dimensional sound that's somewhere between aya, Amazondotcom, Ani Klang, and Metrist. Essential gear.
If you caught Mc Pherson's last full-length 'States of Fugue', or their recent collaboration with US techno producer Ciarra Black as Carbon 96, then you'll have a good idea of where the French-Irish sound designer has been heading musically in the last couple of years. Their take on clubwise experimentation is refreshingly springy; there are no po-faced Netflix womps, instead they concentrate on engineering a groove that's unmistakably biological, but chrome plated.
'Pitch Blender' is a record where organic elements are swallowed into a matrix of stuttered beats and corroded synths, lost in a digital wasteland before being discovered again as an aural anchor. 'On Fire' pushes irregular clanks thru quivering hoover drones, building slowly into abstraction but never bursting into full dancefloor pressure. Another producer might have taken the bait, but Mc Pherson lets us simmer and allows the buildup of kinetic energy to pulse lysergically instead, letting percussion flicker from digital to organic and back again.
They save the eventual release of energy for the aptly-titled 'The Spark', ratcheting up the pressure with spluttering electronix that mutate into a furious kickdrum assault backed up by subtle, precision-cut breaks. It's futuristic dancefloor music that doesn't feel bound by the usual conventions: there's Irish humor in there as well as French fancifulness, and their obsessive sound engineering transports each thud to another dimension. If you've been tickled by the jaw-dropping 4D experimentation of artists like Metrist, Fis or aya, Mc Pherson continues those thoughts, rubberizing popcorn cracks and gameshow buzzer wails on 'Blender', and turning a New York City crosswalk click into 5am sozzled acid-trance euphoria on 'Wait'. But it's on 'Lamella' where the producer makes their presence truly known, adding their vocals to a seething hybrid of rolling jungle and hypnotic, glassy synthwork. "I stand still underwater, observing the movement," they utter over metallic clangs and vibrating ray gun stings. Vocals in experimental club music are a risky proposition, but Mc Pherson manages to evoke jungle's early-'90s golden era without cloning it, and breathes a level of danger and vulnerability into their sounds that's highly satisfying.
'Power Dynamics' meanwhile asserts Mc Pherson's control of complex psychedelic elements; ignoring hackneyed new age signifiers and concentrating on dizzy rhythmic phasing, unexpected pitch combinations and irregular beat patterns. A delirious uptempo belter, the track sounds as if it might disintegrate at any time, echoing the expressive undulations of artists like Slikback or Rian Treanor.