todd merrell ex uno plures


What can be said about an artist whose career has taken the many forms of: channeled new age composer and pianist, punk rocker, art-punk rocker, post-punk Jamaican dub musician and producer, proto-electronica and acid house producer, funk keyboardist, punk bass keyboardist, sound collage DJ, jazz vocalist, soul vocalist, short wave radio player and composer, folk singer, ambient producer, composer of contemporary chamber and orchestral music for traditional and nontraditional instruments, techno producer, and downtempo electronica producer? What could these ridiculously divergent roles possibly have in common? What knotted thread could begin to course through such alarmingly incongruous themes?


TRANSFORMATION of homemade sound, found sound, borrowed or just beautifully played musical concepts and needs. Always giving what I felt was needed at the time, aesthetically, rhythmically, zeitgeist-reactingly, and musically. Transformation of role as dictated by the needs of the times. Who needs to hear which perspective now? Which audience needs to become aware of which globally impacting cultures and events, news and newness, and coming of evolving consciousness? How can this be done without being didactic nor narrative, and without needing notes to explain it? These are my materials.

SYNTHESIS of all that I have come to learn. I need to be all of these performers and composers in order to become ecumenical, and to synthesize this knowledge into currently relevant musical cross-pollinations of the underrepresented yet worthwhile, wrought in a tastefully informed yet innovative form that would speak to an audience greater than fifteen people without being commercial. Synthesis of many cultures, ancient, and fifteen seconds ago. Synthesis of the remedies for the hunger of body, mind, and spirit.

INTEGRITY. The work isn't programmatic—no instruction or manual is needed. It's even more than what it is intrinsically. It's what the work itself creates! My work has been concerned primarily with organic and germane compositional processes. Not unlike West African polyrhythmic music, Balinese Gamelan music, minimalist works, or any good jam session, my music involves the evolutionary development of cellular structures or isomelodies and isorhythms, contrasting simultaneous phrases that repeat yet whose repeat points are not simultaneous (thus obscuring the bar line), highly developed syncopation and some form of call and response or hocket or klangfarben, and pandiatonic, modal and non-functional harmonies.