The Man Behind the Music...
"Sheer magic! Perfection. Improvised... If you're lucky enough to be there, you realize you've just had a hint of something extra-mortal, uber-human, transcendent - maybe the concentrated ghosts of Shakespeare's Globe Theater or the Commedia Dell'arte of the past are swirling around the room, and you think that THIS is the new avant-garde: live, un-censored, living theater." "[Paul Mercer] announced the theme of the music would be about a 130-year-old violin named Daphne and proceeded to give an amazing, full-range orchestral concert with just one violin - reminded me of the famous H.P. Lovecraft story, "The Music of Eric Zann." This was a real eye (and ear) opener: how a four-string violin with a bow can summon up a sky full of thunderous war currents and swooping sounds, dying down to melancholy faraway strains and the rising and falling wail of an ambulance siren. Hypnotic, athletic, EPIC, really - and all done by one soloist with a violin."
V. Vale of RE/Search Publications, on "A Musical Seance," Paul's 2008 live collaboration with siren Jill Tracy
This is a short documentary showing the instruments used in the making of violinist Paul Mercer's album "Ghosts," which was an exploration of the unusual personalities of several instruments he encountered during his career working in the violin business. The film was shot and edited in 72 hours. It won best soundtrack at the International Documentary Challenge in 2009.
Paul Mercer is a composer and violinist from Atlanta, Georgia. He began studying the violin at age eight and started writing music almost immediately. At age 17, an epiphany occurred and music became the focus of his life.Developing his unique improvisational approach to the violin from street performing and forays into different genres and styles, he joined the neoclassical pop quintet The Changelings at their inception in 1994, going on to produce six critically acclaimed albums with them.
In 1995 he began studying Hindustani music with Afghan Rebab master Rafi Akbar Zada. The influence of raga and its ancient concept of modal music theory went on to greatly influence his style. In 1997 he entered the violin business, learning a great deal of the instruments history as well as becoming adept at identifying the work of different schools of makers. This experience led to the production of his first solo album of classical work, entitled "Ghosts".
This recording has led to numerous soundtrack productions for stage and film, 36 to date. In 2004 he began performing with avant garde jazz pioneers DP3, releasing three albums. 2006 saw the birth of The Ghosts Project with cofounder Davis Petterson, which refined his improvisational technique and has resulted in three albums and improvisational musical collaborations too numerous to count.
In recent years he has toured and/or recorded with Jill Tracy, Zoe Keating, Brass Knuckle Surfer and Faith And The Muse at venues all over the world. He is currently working on a new Changelings album, a new Ghosts Project album, and putting the final touches on several soundtrack releases.