Madalyn Merkey, the Oakland-based computer synthesis/vocal processing magician who had us crying “EUREKA!” upon hearing her sinuous 2012 vinyl debut Scent, is back with a second full-length on Matt Mondanile’s New Images imprint. Valley Girl expands on the raw sounds and sonic shapes Merkey has been generating on the fly during her live shows over the last few years, crafting (with the lightest touch) a distinct set of deep waveforms and transient spatial markers “inspired by the agriculture and landscapes” of the open city around her, quite different than Scent’s playful, voice-led melodies. Listen to the desolate opening track off Valley Girl below:
Merkey’s music is fascinating for all sorts of reasons, but the main thing that has struck me live (and now on this record) is the skewed relationship between what’s being created and how it’s being perceived, a strange duality where Merkey plays the role of both artist and audience, hands-off and alien in the initial, computer-generated composition, but subtly hands-on in the subsequent manipulations, her own listening process paralleling the actual audience’s. Because of this, we become attuned to the overall structure and start “listening” to the unknowable human force deciding what adjustments should be made within it — ESP from MSP, EVP from DVP.
There doesn’t seem to be a hard release date for the album, but preorders are being taken NOW, so I’d suggest grabbing one A$AP.
Valley Girl tracklisting: