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Discovery Zone

New York/Berlin based musician and multimedia artist JJ Weihl makes music under the moniker Discovery Zone.

Growing up in Manhattan, JJ listened to a lot of 90s pop and oldies as a kid before discovering jazz and alternative rock as a teen. Spending most of her free time reading, writing stories and engaging with modern dance and theater — she started writing songs on the guitar in high school. Dance and choreography fueled her interest in music, leading her to touchstones like Art of Noise and Aphex Twin whose music often accompanied dance performances.

A dual citizen in the US and Germany, JJ moved to Berlin after college, seeking in part to bridge a generational gap between herself and her grandparents who moved to America to flee World War II. In Berlin, she started the art rock band Fenster with close collaborator Jonathan Jarzyna, singing and playing bass in the band’s colorful compositions. The band toured extensively in Europe and North America during this period joined by bandmates Lucas Chantre (World Brain) and Elias Hock and released four albums between 2012 and 2018.

After teaching herself digital production, JJ started Discovery Zone in 2018 to release her project’s first album Remote Control in 2020. Pursuing a combinatory strain of experimental pop that found room for gorgeous pop vocal arrangements, hi-definition electro beats, and textural ambient synthesis, Discovery Zone caught wider attention on tours in 2021 and 2022 with acts including Jenny Hval, Black Marble, and Parcels.

JJ’s exploration of interdisciplinary art and multimedia performance culminated in a work called Cybernetica, commissioned for the Pop-Kultur festival in Berlin in 2021. The work found JJ extensively documenting her daily life into quantifiable data points and presenting her “results” in an intimate, mind-bending live performance — parts Powerpoint presentation, concert, and personal diary.

Cybernetica spurred the creation of a number of new Discovery Zone songs that form the foundation of Quantum Web. Discovery Zone’s second album builds on the process-based continuum JJ established with Remote Control while zooming in on a number of central themes: the omnipresence of advertising, the sense of interconnection and alienation mediated by technology, and the corporate control of modern society.

Finding an improbable warmth in would-be ominous forces that hang like a hologram over our world, Quantum Web pushes Discovery Zone to new heights of compositional sophistication and genre-colliding production in collaboration with producer E.T. The album reaffirms JJ’s transfixing pop songwriting sensibilities while opening up into the realms of ambient sound-sculpting and experimental vocal arrangement — presented in luminous lead performances, layers of vocoded texture, and pointillist vocal samples.

Events

Tuesday April 16 2024
Peckham audio (sold out), London, United Kingdom
Wednesday April 17 2024
La Boule Noire (complet), Paris, France
Thursday April 18 2024
Artyfarty Gallery (door only), Köln, Germany
Friday April 19 2024
silent green Kulturquartier, Berlin, Germany
Saturday April 20 2024
Kreuzwerk (DJ set), Berlin, Germany
Tuesday April 30 2024
ZIRKA – Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Raum- und Kulturarbeit, München, Germany