Pauline Anna Strom :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

There is an ever-slight hint of a Southern accent in Pauline Anna Strom’s voice, a remnant of the place she left behind forty or so years ago when she moved to the Bay Area with her serviceman husband, who was stationed nearby. This faint trace of history, barely evident, feels like the fraying threads holding her to something like a recognizable time and place. If her music is to be believed, "Strom's world is circular, at once purely physical and purely spiritual. The largely ambient work she created and released in the early 1980s under the Trans-Millenia Consort label resemble known sound only in the way that the sparkles of light that appear when you jam your fingers into your closed eyes resemble vision. To call her music spectral or wandering is to do it the disservice of naming it; as suggested by Trans-Millennia Music, a recent issue of selections from throughout her early 80s run, there is little that connects her work to the world around us, musical or otherwise. And yet it still feels warm and humane, the byproduct of an inner generosity. It’s welcoming, even if it’s unfamiliar.

Strom still lives in the familiar: the Bay Area, where she works as a healer and spiritual counselor. In the years since her initial run, she’s quietly influenced a number of electronic artists, including MGMT, who put “Morning Splendour” on their Late Night Tales tape in 2011. Some of the sonic territory she pioneered appears among the benevolent worlds of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s music, and she shares a certain settled joy with Laraaji, but these are all distant planets in the same solar system. So we called Strom up around the release of Trans-Millenia Music and asked her to give us a tour.

Trans-Millenia Music by Pauline Anna Strom

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