ALBUM: Mally Harpaz – ‘Zoom In, Zoom Out’

There are some compositions that were created to inspire, and Mally Harpaz’s self-released album, Zoom In, Zoom Out, is fuelled by them. On 5th April, Mally Harpaz released an album that has been almost two years in the making. For anyone that has been lucky enough to attend one of the primarily North London-based Blind Dog Studio gigs, you’ll at least have a sense of the material contained within.

Trite though it is for me to say (again) but wholly true, Mally Harpaz is a musician. She is an artist, a composer, a percussionist, and a beautiful soul. Mally is a musician’s musician and the musical landscape that she’s created on Zoom In, Zoom Out is every bit as artful as the stunningly poignant video art by Clara Aparicio Yoldi projected behind each live show.

While the live show visuals aid the music in reaching epic heights, one listen to the record and you’ll see your own. Recorded between Harpaz’s own Blind Dog Studio – a studio on her property named after her dog – and Hackney Road Studios with sound engineer, Shuta Shinoda, listening to Zoom In, Zoom Out is every bit the spiritual experience it should be.

All too many times people have uttered the phrase that they need words to music, but all I can think is that they don’t quite appreciate the atmosphere of a score. Zoom In, Zoom Out is a score; tracks like ‘Voices’ and ‘Not Without Pain’ say everything that has to be said: to anyone, wherever they are when listening. For me, a dark room through studio headphones with an aching soul.

Any vocal accompaniments are from Blind Dog Studio regulars Hazel Iris, James Marples, Eran Karniel, and Anna Calvi. And of course, the heartbreakingly sound ‘Not Without Pain’ mixing somber spoken word from Harpaz with Calvi’s haunting vocals washing in like a tidal wave alongside the great swell of instrumentation composed from the stunning depths of Harpaz’s mind.

Words don’t do justice to a record built on feeling, but then again, without the pursuit, music would be far duller a landscape. Thanks to artists like Mally Harpaz, however, that’s never gonna happen.

Zoom In, Zoom Out is available now via Bandcamp.

Em Burfitt

Photo Credit: Stéphane Guilley

LIVE: Mally Harpaz and Her Merry Band of Musos @ The Victoria, 19.12.17

I was a dick as a kid and considered mainstream music to be Uncool. This was after the phase where ‘Barbie Girl’ was one of the only CD singles I’d bought myself, right after ‘Mulder & Scully’ by Catatonia, ‘course. Because Cerys has always been pretty cool…

The older I’ve got, I’ve eased up on my neurotic need to sought out the avant-garde, and I’m well open to admitting that Ariana Grande has a legion of what my generation calls bangers, but I’m still drawn to music that pushes me off the edge of the nearest precipice. Because then I get to indulge in l’appel du vide whilst actually still getting to go home at night.

Music saves lives, and Mally Harpaz is one hell of a music-maker.

There isn’t a single instrument out there she can’t play, and even before I had the chance to talk to her about her processes, I’d walk into an Anna Calvi gig and immediately go and see what new piece of equipment she had on stage with her.

2017 marked not only the process of professionally recording her own compositions for conceptual art videos by visual artist Clara Aparicio Yoldi, but also the the start of a series of concerts masterminded by Mally to not just play said compositions, but to also share the stage with a rotating band of incredible musicians from all walks of life.

Blind Dog Studios is Mally’s brainchild and heartchild – and I say heartchild because the mind has a tendency to stifle the creative process for fun, and Mary Wollstonecraft sure didn’t keep his brain in a silk bag. The concert series this year has introduced us to artists like Hazel Iris, Ciara Clifford, Colonial Sun, VÄLVĒ, Hana Piranha.

19th December saw the last gig of the year at The Victoria in Dalston – a fantastic way to end the year. And I can happily assure you there’ll be more next year, and that you should catch any/all of them that you can. 

We even got a guest vocals and guitar spot from Mally’s best friend and musical soulmate, the one and only Anna Calvi; a wonderful surprise, just over three years after her sold out orchestral gig at St. John-at-Hackney.

2017 was a great year for the London music scene and an even greater one for us girls, and 2018 looks to be shaping up to be even better, especially with projects like Blind Dog Studios flipping the scene on its head.


Em Burfitt