You begin to get a sense of Merritt's aural eccentricities by surveying the encyclopedic collection of sound-making devices in his studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Three entire rooms are devoted to the stuff. There's a thunder sheet, thunder drums, two long plastic ridged tubes that make a windlike noise when you whirl them around, bells, whistles and a thumb piano made from a cigar box. There are xylophones, congas, chicken shakers, pipes, a rain stick, a melodica, chimes, two danmos (Vietnamese percussion instruments made of hollowed wood), a Marxophone and several maracas. (''I go through maracas very quickly,'' Merritt says.) There's a Sruiti box from India, a harmonium, kazoos, egg shakers, many ocarinas, Tibetan meditation bells, gongs, blocks, sticks, triangles, steel drums, spoons, two Slinkys and a musical saw.An excerpt from a very good, very long, article on Stephin Merritt in the New York Times.