Boomkat Product Review:
Extraordinary electronic inventions from keenly observed US composer Madalyn Merkey, following her nose for lushly synaesthetic sensation with a batch of lathered pulses and ingenious timbral convolutions for an ideal host, Mana.
Like a rare comet, Mills College alum Madalyn Merkey has memorably blipped our radar ever since her quietly intoxicating album ’Scent’ in 2012, with scant sightings over the interim for bijou label Chantal, and, more recently, on a string of self-releases. With ‘Puzzle Music’, Merkey pursues key interests in the quintessential malleability of electronic music, and its effect on perceptions of temporality, thru her remarkably attuned grasp of the Oberheimer Xpander analog synthesiser.
Urged by “the desire to create images out of diverse pieces of sound” she acts like a fleshly conduit for her machine, semiconsciously coaxing its softest thoughts into a sound-image that paints itself thru her finely-honed process “of placing sound shapes next to one another in the hope that clarity will gradually be revealed.” The results are, well, mana for the closer listener, yielding an unfathomably lush suite of Dali-esque melting chronology rent in dream-hued tones that call to mind aspects of David Behrman’s live electronic pursuits as much as Maggi Payne’s shatterproof synth gradients and the oneiric, shine-eyed nature of works by Teresa Winter and Orphan Fairytale.
Viewing the dynamics of her music here as “mechanisms in a timepiece”, Madalyn draws upon an obsession with Swiss watch-making for a genuinely fantastical suite of amorphous, atemporal innovation riddled with a dreamtime logic. In Madalyn’s world time feels to move forward, back and perpendicular to its usual arrow, diffracted in sloshing eddies and whorls that elegantly unfurl with classical music’s metric license, and prize the plastic, plasmic qualities of synthesised music. Following her thoughts on “gears turning”, her music comes to resemble a sort of arcane, spirit energy-driven antikythera mechanism undergoing its cryptic functions in an Atlantean crystal cave, spurting out what may be coordinates to a heavenly bullion or a path to one’s rarest pleasure centres.
From initial listens we’re completely floored with this one - a deliquescent, microcosmic synecdoche of sound set for cult acclaim, and a real landmark for 2022 and beyond.