Picture: Merche Blasco by Eunice Maurice
Picture: Merche Blasco by Eunice Maurice

Merche Blasco

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Merche Blasco is a multimedia artist and composer based in New York, and currently living in Berlin. She designs and builds imprecise technological assemblages that catalyze embodied forms of live electroacoustic composition and new modes of listening. Through her constructed devices, Merche attempts to establish a more horizontal relationship with other entities, distancing herself from parameters of precision, power, and control. As an alternative form of performance, she engineers collaborative spaces with instruments that are given their own agency, in compositions where her body and the live exploration of organic materials are central elements.

Merche’s work also increasingly focuses on designing participatory sound performances in public spaces to connect strangers and their surroundings through collective music-making and listening.

FACTS

1. I am never quite ready for the weather in Berlin

2. I did once a reiki session because I was convinced that my energy was affecting the electronic gear I was using in my concerts, and during the session, the sound system in the room stopped working

3. Babies are incredible explorers of acoustics

QUESTIONS

1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

Everything! There isn’t even any one medium that influences me more than others. There have been pieces that emerged from a particular physical material like water or ceramic, or a sound that triggered something in my body, or a public location and the way the public related to that site, or from my passion for biking, or a gesture I made or saw… it can be anything that grabs my attention and takes me somewhere else.

2. How and when did you get into making music?

I was doing Engineering in grad school and I needed to take a break from the dryness of those classes. My friend Olatz invited me to a rehearsal space to improvise vocals for a local band, and we became the singers of that band. Then other rock and punk bands followed, and five years later, because I was constantly relocating and it was hard to maintain a band in those conditions, I decided to form my own solo project, recording all sorts of sounds and using electronics.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

These are the type of questions that freeze me , so I will go with 5 albums that have resonated lately for different reasons:

Trilogie De La Mort- Éliane Radigue
Ethiopiques, vol. 21: Emahoy (Piano Solo) – Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou
Big science – Laurie Anderson
Leyenda Amazónica – Juaneco Y Su Combo
A Spirit Appears to a Pair of Lovers – Gryphon Rue

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

A place where loads of regulations coexist with a very punk spirit. I particularly love how freely people use the public space here.

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

I am not sure what is “my town” now, but wherever I am I tend to gravitate toward the rivers.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

Float in space.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?

“gisela” – a gorgeous yellow vinyl record from my friend the amazing artist Noia.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I would love to perform with any animal choir. I’ve made some attempts at this, but none of them was really successful.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

Some memorable ones that come to mind are Björk’s concert in the Arena in Verona in Italy during a beautiful sunset, and more recently “Glia” performed by Maryanne Amacher in the last CTM. That piece took me to so many places inside and outside my body.

With my own performances, some of my favorite ones in recent years have happened without an audience, when I was rehearsing in this one particular room in my school´s music department back in NYC. The building is quite old, and all the materials (closets, window glass, AC/heating system, light tracks, etc) weren’t properly attached to the walls and ceiling anymore, so I could start shaking them separately depending on their resonating frequency by playing with “Lobatus”, an instrument that I built to explore beating in low frequencies.

I also carry a very dear memory from Téntere, Nublo, a public sound parade I organized last September in my hometown. Hundreds of people came out to the streets, including all my family and many friends visiting from NYC, and it was very emotional to see my hometown transformed by the sounds and visuals we were generating together and to see everyone enjoying and participating in the communal experience.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

It’s very present. My creative work scrutinizes the way we design technology and attempts to propose alternative ways of creating at the intersection of music and technology short-circuiting the prevailing, seemingly neutral technological order that our society has absorbed and naturalized. I like to think I am very critical of technology – and I really question every piece of gear or tech I include in a project – but I also celebrate it as a medium that has enabled me to augment my physical abilities revealing hidden energies, connections or perceptual states (both for me and for my audiences), and to compose and perform in a way that I could not do before I started building my own instruments with technology.

11. What do you expect from your DAAD residency in Berlin?

What it is already bringing me: local collaborations, beautiful new friends, and the mental space, resources, and caring support to experiment in my work.

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