David Margolin Lawson and David Merrill met a number of years ago while audio engineering sessions at CityVox Studios in New York City. They discovered they both had a love for "mid century" electronic music and composers like Morton Subotnick, Eliane Radigue, Edgard Varèse, Ilhan Mimaroğlu, Steve Reich, etc. It wasn’t until recently though that they began to share ideas they had been working on individually which led to this collaboration.
Merrill - I’ve always loved working in a more abstract kind of way. “Sonic Sculpture Painting” I call it. Rivière was the first piece David sent me. I loved it right off and really appreciated how it takes its time to develop. I’d just finished the Chant Electronique (Chesky Records) album with singer Ryland Angel. Lawson’s music was in a very different direction which offered me the chance to try and integrate some of my ideas with David’s more meditative direction. David would send me his tracks with ‘working’ titles which I would then start ‘sonically painting’ to. I'd then send what I'd done back to David for comments or suggestions. The whole process has been wonderfully open, free and supportive. To me - each piece has its own individual character and the final titles became obvious.
Lawson - I’d heard some of Dave’s earlier works, including Chant Electronique, and I really wanted to impress him with something of mine! I was thrilled with his offer of collaboration because I’ve always admired his approach to synthesis and sound production. Some tracks, such as Rivière, or A Day at the Beach - which I recorded the basic track for while vacationing on Fire Island - are pretty clear in form and intent. Others are less so. What eventually became Morning Meditation started as three separate sketches that Dave created a ‘through line’ for that gave the piece its final structure. Once I hand a track over to Dave I consider it his from that point on. It’s then that I sit back and become an enthusiastic listener.
David Margolin Lawson is a New York based Sound Designer, Composer, & Recording Engineer. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he studied Theater Arts at the Ft. Hayes School for Performing Arts in Columbus. Upon moving to NYC to pursue a career in theater in 1981, he bought his first synthesizer - a second hand ARP Odyssey. The synthesizer allowed David to integrate his two primary interests: Theatrical Sound Design and Electronic Music and has been a cornerstone to the majority of his design work. David has designed, composed and recorded for many New York area performing arts organizations including: Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), La Mama, E. T. C., The Juilliard School, The Public Theater, The Signature Theater, Abdel R. Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theater, UP Theater Company, HERE Arts Center, The New School, The Blanco Dances, Gerald Thomas’ Dry Opera Company, The Joffrey Ballet, Capital Repertory Theater, Two Rivers Theater, Hartford Stage, Repertorio Español, Urban Stages, and others. David has been a faculty member at Pace University since 2011 where he teaches courses in Theatrical Sound Design.
David Merrill was born into a musical family. His mother was a Juilliard graduated pianist and his father was famed baritone and Metropolitan Opera star Robert Merrill. As a child David studied piano and sang in the Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus.
In high school David enrolled in an Electronic Music program at the Manhattan School of Music. There he was introduced to the Arp 2500 and studied electronic music composition with Elias Tanenbaum. He continued this at Sarah Lawrence College where he began composing, recording, and performing experimental electronic music for theater and dance which led to work in off-off Broadway theaters. David also played guitar, bass and keyboards in various bands including "Birdland with Lester Bangs". After recording one album with Birdland at Electric Lady Studios he then became a founding member of "The Rattlers". This New York City based trio recorded a number of singles and toured with many major Punk acts throughout the Northeast, Midwest, and Canada. He then went back to full time studio engineering at Master Sound which had re-located to the Kaufman Astoria Film Studios facility. He spent 13 years there as the principal staff engineer. The diverse client list there was a virtual who's who of music makers. Grammy nominated artists from Keith Richards to Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli to Tony Bennett, The Kronos Quartet to Wynton Marsalis, Barbara Cool to Meredith Monk, Broadway Cast albums, film scores, National Geographic, Sesame Street, etc.
In addition to studio recording David continues to do location and concert recording as well as FOH sound mixing. Venues and festivals have included Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music North West, La Joya Music Festival, The Apollo Theater, Geffen-Avery Fischer Hall, St. Barths Music Festival, Angel Fire Chamber Music Festival as well as other halls in the US and Europe. His spoken word clients have included Cambridge University Press, Berlitz, and Oxford University Press.
Other projects include working in Prague and Hungary producing and engineering orchestra tracks for various Opera and Broadway singers. David is also an Audio Engineering Society member and has served as "Tech Tour" Chair and hosted panel discussions for past conventions in New York City.