Madalyn Merkey – Valley Girl 8.7

                Madalyn Merkey’s “Valley Girl” explores and defines new territories. Inspired by the geography of her Oakland, California home, it is a rare refined piece of work. Following up her previous album “Scent” this one has a more cohesive basis with every song neatly flowing into the next. Such cohesiveness makes the album an immersive experience. Within the gentle undulations there are moments of sheer exquisite beauty. Her voice again serves as the heart of the album giving the experimentation heart. 

                Opening up with “Archipelago” the album begins discreetly. While the piece is busy unfolding a tropical environment helps to give the song a sense of definition. The cyclical nature of the piece means that those gentler sounds return over and over again. Her voice is disembodied and transformed into lush sighing melodies. “Meridian” develops a strange rhythm as it serves as an interlude of sorts before Madalyn Merkey dives deeper into the sound. For “Aggregate” Madalyn Merkey has a few moments that become considerably heavier than anything she’s done before. Around the three minute mark filtered remnants from “Archipelago” return with a beautiful Alice in Wonderland fall from her voice appearing at the four minute mark. Towards the end of “Pluto” the song appears to slowly evaporate as the heavier sounds disappear into the high-pitched frequencies. 

                “Valley Girl” is an entirely different approach than what appeared on “Scent”. Less melodic with a far greater emphasis on the whole the album could be considered a concept album of sorts with lovely flourishes intermingled. “Valley Girl” is a thing of surprising beauty that reveals its many secrets ever so slowly.

Madalyn Merkey – Valley Girl 8.7

                Madalyn Merkey’s “Valley Girl” explores and defines new territories. Inspired by the geography of her Oakland, California home, it is a rare refined piece of work. Following up her previous album “Scent” this one has a more cohesive basis with every song neatly flowing into the next. Such cohesiveness makes the album an immersive experience. Within the gentle undulations there are moments of sheer exquisite beauty. Her voice again serves as the heart of the album giving the experimentation heart. 

                Opening up with “Archipelago” the album begins discreetly. While the piece is busy unfolding a tropical environment helps to give the song a sense of definition. The cyclical nature of the piece means that those gentler sounds return over and over again. Her voice is disembodied and transformed into lush sighing melodies. “Meridian” develops a strange rhythm as it serves as an interlude of sorts before Madalyn Merkey dives deeper into the sound. For “Aggregate” Madalyn Merkey has a few moments that become considerably heavier than anything she’s done before. Around the three minute mark filtered remnants from “Archipelago” return with a beautiful Alice in Wonderland fall from her voice appearing at the four minute mark. Towards the end of “Pluto” the song appears to slowly evaporate as the heavier sounds disappear into the high-pitched frequencies. 

                “Valley Girl” is an entirely different approach than what appeared on “Scent”. Less melodic with a far greater emphasis on the whole the album could be considered a concept album of sorts with lovely flourishes intermingled. “Valley Girl” is a thing of surprising beauty that reveals its many secrets ever so slowly.

Madalyn Merkey – Scent 9.0

                Madalyn Merkey’s music is a beautiful combination of the organic and the electronic. Listening to scent brings to mind some earlier electronic experiments. There’s an obvious grit to the album, shown in the warmth of the sound. Digital is ignored to a large degree. Calling it a personal album would be accurate as Merkey uses her own voice as source material in the compositions. She’s not the only one to do such a thing this year; Holly Herndon on movement used her voice too as source material. Whereas Holly’s work can be rather jarring and active, Merkey’s music exists in a dream-like state completely sedated. 

                ‘Neptune’ is intensely focused on its aquatic-like sounds that ping through a strange atmosphere. Merkey keeps the humanity deeply in check with a sweet melody that snakes through 9 minutes of exploration. Tender and deeply moving it feels completely joyous in nature. With such a gentle spirit it feels like listening to a song growing up. ‘Siren’ directly uses her voice giving the song a sense of weird funkiness. Only a few times can her words be deciphered from the many effects. This may be one of the highlights of the entire album. Her filters manage to accurately convey the human behind all of this sound. Rhythms are beat-less yet there through her own pacing on songs like ‘Nexus’ and the enormous ‘Mend’. In fact the closer ‘Mulch’ is a strange dance track that outdoes the weirdest ideas of Matmos while remaining so delightfully simple. 

Merkey is the Wizard of Oz of her environment making the sound bigger more powerful and lovelier than is humanly possible. Her work combines the best of the experimental with the emotional.