Words by Manal Aziz
Atlas Electronic Podcast 010: Bergsonist – synthesizers, grimy bass, tribal vocals, harsh drumbeats and groovy electronics. But a scratch on the surface of the strange yet playful sounds captured in this 1hr+ mix.
Moroccan raised, NY-based producer Bergsonist is a mysterious one. Known for nasty, harsh or even biting electronics, the ontogenesis of this artist into a versatile and nuanced producer is undeniable. Led by intuition, this young woman from Casablanca is not restrained by the, sometimes painfully restricting boundaries of genres. Marking an era of self-exploration on musical, personal and spiritual levels, she is an artist quite unlike others. We’re excited to have had the chance to speak with her about this like-named intuition-led ideology, recalibrating your internal compass, and her blog bizaarbazaar. The cherry on top can be found at the end of the article: a one-hour-fourteen-minutes-brainteaser.
Bergsonist is your artist name, referring to a very renowned French philosopher. One of his signature and, in his time, controversial ideas is that immediate experience and intuition play a far greater role in understanding and grasping reality than, let’s say, abstract rationalism does. Where do you and this French philosopher meet on the scale of this ideology? And how is it represented in your music/work?
Exactly. Bergsonist was inspired by Henri Bergson’s ideology through the lens of Gilles Deleuze. According to Deleuze, intuition is the method of bergsonism. Intuition is presented as a very structured process with its own strict rules; Bergson called it the precision in philosophy.
For Bergson, intuition is presented as a simple act. I would say Bergsonism is represented in my work as the foundation, the structure of any process or work I will be exploring, be it sound or design. The whole ideology brews the way I deal with my reality. I feel using intuition as main fuel can be more exciting and fruitful than using ‘intelligence’. You see, instinct proceeds things organically whereas intelligence treats things mechanically.
You’re a New Yorker but have been born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city. How have you experienced or maybe even dealt with the cultural contrasts between those two places? And (how) have you managed to recalibrate your internal compass to match those two worlds?
I came to NY when I was 17. The cultural contrast between Casablanca and the city was choking but to be honest, I got used to it. Coming to NY has allowed me to experience so many different cultures at once, and on top of that express myself without being judged. It’s sad, but the ecosystem I was growing up in was repressive to me in a creative sense. When I think about it, coming to NY was the best decision I made at the time, because it allowed me to grow so fast and flourish naturally. Nevertheless, I’m so proud of being Moroccan. Morocco has such a rich and beautiful culture. It’s part of me and that will never change.
Both your musical and your personal identity are shaped by encounters with people, events, experiences, emotions or maybe even luck – good or bad. Could you name a or some of these catalysts that significantly forged your foundation?
Yes, I see my body, self, Bergsonist, Selwa as a carrier. I just let things come to me and try to exteriorize the feeling induced by them as a sound, object or thought. Although I can’t recall all of them, one catalyst that definitely forged my practice was attending a sonic meditation guided by Pauline Oliveros, a few years ago. I always try to feed myself with exciting stimuli that could alter the way I think or create. Meeting Oliveros and being part of the meditation was so inspiring and creatively life-changing.
Besides from DJing and producing you seem to have found other ways to acquire insight into music. One of them I know of is the blog bizaarbazaar – an independent music platform.The blog features podcasts, interviews, reviews and much more. What role do you play within this blog and does the blog in turn play in completing the picture that is Bergsonist?
Yes, Bizaarbazaar is an independent music platform I started 8 years ago. I’m the curator. For a while it was secret but I guess people now figured it out, haha. Yes, it definitely shaped my ear and the way I make sounds for sure.
Your style is, at the least, fiercely unapologetic – reaching to the furthest edges of what’s considered electronic music. What would you like our listeners to know about this podcast before they press the play button?
Oh, thanks!! I enjoyed doing this podcast a lot and have nothing to add other than maybe: Have a good day!
Thank you for your answers, insights and most of all: music!
The Atlas Electronic Podcast series has been created for the sole purpose of sonic education and entertainment. Get to know the people behind the artists and learn about the creation process. Find tracklists to elaborate your music library or simply expand your musical horizon. Got to SoundCloud for the full extent of our auditory archive.