quality baked goods part two: pauline anna strom on sanity muffinDecember 2, 2013 at 11:28 am | Posted in no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: ambient music, electronica, new age, no audience underground, pauline anna strom, sanity muffin, tapes
Pauline Anna Strom – Trans Millenia Consort (C46 tape, Sanity Muffin, SM43, edition of 100)
At the opposite end of the emotional spectrum to the Moëvöt tape can be found Trans Millenia Consort by Pauline Anna Strom. This is a limited edition reissue of a rare and sought after album originally released in 1982. Aside from Scott who has an obsessive’s concern for, y’know, facts, RFM doesn’t go in much for ‘context’. Usually we prefer to crank the impressionistic metaphor engine up to 11 and let rip. In this case, though, a little back story may be instructive.
A few years prior to the recording of this LP, Pauline’s husband bought her an electronic organ which she quickly mastered, a trick she repeated with all the other equipment and instruments he then presented to her. Pauline, blind (from birth I believe), used music as a way to illustrate what sounds like a rich fantasy life in which she saw herself as ‘a musical consort to time’. From her comments in the liner notes:
My music is a timeless entity, clothed in the mists of pre-history, beautifully sensitive to the tortured and joyous emotions of the present, rich and voluptuously full of the glory and anguish of future worlds…
And so on. What could be more Californian, eh? Now, I love nothing more than heartfelt sincerity but it would be easy to snigger at this hippy silliness. However, in combination with the music these pronouncements take on a rather charming loveliness. It is also of great interest to anyone who, like me, is fascinated by self-taught, ‘outsider’ artists and the visions they express.
The music is a burbling, peaceful electronic soundscape augmented with sound effects – running water and the like. The world depicted is a future paradise where Morlocks exist in harmony with the Eloi and both races work together to build a utopia as technologically advanced as it is spiritually satisfying. It is a new age take on ideas being explored by Eno and various other European types in ambient music recorded around the same time. Don’t expect it to be cool or knowing though. It is odd, for sure, and has enough bite and weirdness to it to reward many repeat listens, but you have to leave any cynical hipsterism at the door. This is an album cast from equal measures of calm, love and hope. What could be more radical and challenging, eh? It also has the honour of being one of only two submissions to RFM incorporated into the bedtime routine of Thomas the Baby. Thus: a wholehearted recommendation.