Today, RVNG Intl. shares the video for ‘Equatorial Sunrise’ the second single from Pauline Anna Strom’s forthcoming posthumous album ‘Angel Tears in Sunlight’, out 19th February 2021. The pioneering synthesist suddenly passed away in December, she was 74 years old. Read RVNG’s tribute here and the New York Times obituary.
The ‘Equatorial Sunrise’ video is prefaced with an introductory explanation of Stroms’s vision, in her own words, left in a voicemail to label head Matt Werth.
RVNG have teamed up with ESP TV once again to create a kaleidoscopic visual translation of her sonic world building. ‘Equatorial Sunrise’ is rich in playful percussive textures and melodies that are bright with hope, which is heard to shimmer throughout the album.
The capacity to collapse time might elucidate the enigma of Pauline Anna Strom. A mystic force in music, emerging during the dawn of new age as the Trans-Millenia Consort, the pioneering synthesist channelled primordial energies into future-facing sound through a series of full-length releases between 1982 and 1988. Little was known about her, except by a constellation of devoted followers who saw a unique legacy forming amidst the (mostly male) synthesist canon of the time.
Following the 2017 release of Trans-Millenia Music, an anthology revitalizing the most evocative parts of Strom’s catalog, the Bay Area visionary sensed the universe telling her to return to music. As with her work in the 80s, Angel Tears in Sunlight was composed and recorded in the same San Francisco apartment where Strom has lived for almost four decades in synthesis with her machines and “dinosaurs.” Populated by a compact array of modern instruments that streamline the sound of her analog past and her beloved iguanas, Little Soulstice and Ms Huff, the terrarium of her home formed an intimate yet limitless ecosystem that defies the constraints of the outside world.
Within this sanctuary, Strom became lost in time, drawing on the ancient energies of her inner visions. Her hardware formed the crux of translating these ideas into sound. “It’s the only way this stuff can be pulled out of myself, the universe, Little Soulstice, an ammonite…,” Strom noted. “It couldn’t be done without this machinery, because there’s no other way to draw and capture these frequencies into sonic interpretation.”
Strom’s process of recording transient live-takes enriched the mystery of her work. She rendered the machinery a composer itself, a cohabitation with a living other. “Many musicians wouldn’t go that far because of ego,” Strom mused. “The equipment has to become part of you and your creativity. That’s how I think it all comes together.” Music-making becomes a harmonic language of intuition with an instrument, where Strom cultivates sound for a harvest that defies season.
Shaped by circadian contours, Angel Tears in Sunlight is a celestial observatory of earthborn phonic mosaics. Strom uncovers a symbiosis between hardware frequencies and apparitions of nature in the record’s arena of organic tones, emulating the melodic pulses of primeval terrain. The album transcends both shadow and light, falling to hushed stretches of sound as if not to awaken antediluvian animals, before soaring through the treetops where ancient skies peer over reptilian traffic and unsparing rains.
Where Angel Tears in Sunlight opens a new passage in the transportive power of Strom’s work, the synthesist also nurtures space for restorative listening. During her absence from composing, Strom turned to a practice of spiritual healing, which she recognizes to have deepened her understanding of music as “the connective link between the source and us.”
Pauline Anna Strom’s Angel Tears in Sunlight will be released on February 19, 2021 in LP, CD, and digital editions. A portion of the proceeds from this release will benefit The International Iguana Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting conservation, awareness, and scientific programs that enhance the survival of wild iguanas and their habitats.