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Madalyn Merkey

Californian composer Madalyn Merkey is an artist performing in acoustic research and live computer music. Her practice began as a visual artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she transitioned to sound and time-based art.

Merkey’s digital voice processing has a sensational effect, with the human voice modulating between foreground and background, creating an unusual occurrence in identifying the sound source. Recent projects combine traditional instruments and electronics in live performance. In observing the acoustic principles of an instrument, she designs a real-time synthesis program to generate complementary timbral events and contrasting scales. This survey has led to an ongoing series of site-specific electronic music performances, in which principles of location, room acoustics and surround sound, are the foundation to develop sound material.

Featured releases

Recorded in her boyfriend's kitchen in Menlo Park, CA, part of Silicon Valley, 'Crushed Shells' sees electronic artist Madalyn Merkey start her practice afresh, engaging with a whole new set of tools. Starting from a hodgepodge of small borrowed equipment, Madalyn's set-up grew into d.i.y. eurorack modules until it took up the whole room. The album is reflective of this raw, homemade process, including first time interactions with the equipment through to blossoming sound worlds. In her own words, "it is about starting from scratch and seeing where things go." At once baroque and experimental, Madalyn lets wandering melodies find their feet in open terrain. Crystalline synth lines meet others in gentle harmony and disharmony, like slow moving clouds floating past each other, overlapping and forming new shapes. Elsewhere she lets sounds blip, fizz and crack, gifting each gesture plenty of space to come into being. Rather relying too much on iterative electronic phrasing, she creates lively sonic dynamics, with altered repetitive patterns dancing in flux with punctuated rhythms. Carrying itself with a weightless minimalism, 'Crushed Shells' soundtracks an artist that has built a small new world for themselves, and has opened the kitchen window for us all to see. -- Madalyn Merkey - Waldorf blofeld with midi keyboard & d.i.y. eurorack modules -- Mastered by Oliver Barrett

Madalyn Merkey – Crushed Shells