Master Panda’s Farewell To The Merricks – The Funk And Beauty Of A Madman’s Day

master panda

The Merricks is the name of a one man band from Geneva, Switzerland. The group’s sole member is the enigmatic Master Panda. Regular readers of The Static Dive are familiar with the project. We have covered three previous album releases. However, that barely scratches the surface of his voluminous back catalog of work. With the new album “A Madman’s Day,” The Merricks deliver their swan song.

With many dozens of albums in his discography it is not possible to compare this record to the artist’s ‘usual’ work. However, as it relates to the handful of Merricks records we have covered here, “A Madman’s Day” takes a deeper dive into melody and Funk. Much of the music on records like “Pop Disease” and “Confusion” were dark Industrial experiments. Here, Master Panda mixes funky breakbeats and bass lines with complex Classical melodic structures to create complex and sometimes beautiful pieces.

The album’s percussive melodies, dance grooves and creative instrumentation brings to mind the work of experimental pioneers like Art of Noise or Devo. However, the sounds on “A Madman’s Diary” are far more organic than anything that came from the 80’s. Acoustic drums pound out World Beat grooves while guitars, basses, strings and found sounds create hypnotic syncopated tapestries. That’s not to say this isn’t sequenced electronic music. To a large degree it is. However, those original sampled sounds originate from wood and bone, not silicon.

At the heart of each track on “A Madman’s Day” is an old-school Hip-hop beat. From the dark drone of “Nightmare” to the intricate Classical nuance of “Hope’s Mourning,” funky beats are in the driver’s seat. Within that framework the record explores Peter Garbiel-style grooves (“Keep Smiling”), Prince-esque lo-fi Funk (“Break”) and cool percussive Ambient electronic (“Need of Green”). It’s a smart record and a great listen for fans of Funk, Jazz or avant-garde Electronic music. And it is a worthy addition to The Merricks impressive collection. Sadly, according to the artist, it will also be the last.

After 12 years of intense and hard work, after 185 albums released on free netlabels and 22 albums distributed by CdBaby, this is the last album by The Merricks. Adios !

Master Panda

Check out “A Madman’s Day” in its entirety below. You can also hear the song “Need of Green” on the Deep Indie Chill playlist. Follow the links below to connect with Master Panda and stay in the loop for his post-Merricks plans.

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