Singer, songwriter and multimedia artist Mary Ocher was born in Russia in the mid-’80s, grew up in Tel Aviv and moved to Germany with her band The Baby Cheeses in the 2000s. But just as they’re not defined by any specific genres or time periods, Ocher’s otherworldly creations aren’t given any special elucidation from geographical context clues. She is an artful explorer and spirited collaborator following her own untethered vision and crafting avant-garde music that often addresses real-world issues from a kaleidoscope of sonic and philosophical perspectives.
At 14, while still in Tel Aviv, Ocher recorded her first song with popular Israeli musician Idan Raichel. Along with self-releasing Baby Cheeses material after moving to Berlin, in 2008 she issued her first solo effort, a collection of “acoustic and apocalyptic” Avant Folk songs titled War Songs, which drew big attention when the Haute Areal label reissued it in 2011. Ocher’s exhilarating experimentalism continued on 2013’s EDEN, her acclaimed collaboration with Canadian producer and Garage/Psych artist King Khan. The album led to Ocher’s first dates in North America. Along the way, Ocher has worked in other media, including poetry, photography, performance art and film, all undertaken with the same thought-provoking zeal.
On Ocher’s latest aural project, last year’s The West Against the People (and Faust Studio Sessions and Other Recordings companion release), she combines sound collaging, elastic Art Folk, various World music touches, ambient and rhythmic texturing and electronic/Synth Pop elements for a head-spinning album that was co-produced by German music pioneer Hans Joachim Irmler (Faust). The ideological thrust and title of the project — described as “a document of social indignation and the deconstruction of our identities as citizens” — is taken by a provocative essay Ocher wrote about society, identity, discrimination and oppression.