Photo Credit: Colette Pomerleau
Gorilla vs Bear
“The electronic producer uses her equipment’s store-bought settings as a means to explore our melancholic modern world. Turns out she’s speaking in a language we all know by default”
New York born, Berlin based musician and film maker JJ Weihl is set to release her debut solo record as Discovery Zone having previously played bass and sang in acclaimed experimental pop band Fenster. Remote Control is out via cult Berlin label Mansions and Millions on June 5th. Discovery Zone announced her debut album with trippy video Blissful Morning Dream Melody which received praise from the likes of Loud & Quiet, Gorilla Vs Bear and NPR.
Today, Discovery Zone shares lead single ‘Dance II’. On the single, Weihl says “I remember finding this beat on an old Yamaha keyboard and playing the chords on the guitar in my studio. I was absolutely elated. I was dancing around the room. In the beginning stages of writing the songs that ended up on this record, I lacked a lot of confidence. I’ve been making music and touring for the past several years with my band Fenster, but this project is the first time I ever tried to write and record music on my own.”
“At a lot of moments throughout the process, I really had to trick myself to keep going, to not give up out of frustration or fear of failure. I think the lyrics of this song really capture the struggle and ongoing conversation I was having with myself at that time” she continues. “Dance II deals with inner conflict, paradoxes, and the endless digital archiving of reality. Some funny thing I’m trying to find and capture in myself and in the world and save but can’t quite. The thing I’m chasing. A feeling. A song. Myself. Whatever it is. It’s a Dance, too!”
Her album Remote Control, with its palette of chimes, chirps and shimmers, is a glowing meditation on our contradictory moment in history. In her hands, the limitations of the default setting form a territory of unbounded experimentation, from the system-notification synth funk of “Dance II” to the trance incantations of “Blissful Morning Dream Interpretation Melody.” There are bits of sound collage and a lot of operatic robot choirs woven through tight emotional electronic pop.
Live visuals and music videos are a big part of Discovery Zone. Presenting a wild curation of green screen, found footage, and original material, the visual palette is one of digital bricolage – weaving narratives out of youtube videos, personal beach vacation footage, television commercials, early computer animations, and 3d renderings. Utilizing sci-fi and lo-fi aesthetics in the deep web, the sonic and lyrical themes of nostalgia, paradox, love, physics and philosophy are further explored and enhanced by visual journeys through second life and the funhouse mirror of the internet.
The accompanying music video for Dance II is a split screen of images in the background that are in conversation with each other either visually or conceptually with Weihl in the foreground in relation to those images. Compiled by Fenster bandmate Lucas Chantre, the video is compiled of mobile phone clips, little moments we see and shoot on our own.
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