Pauline Anna Strom
Pauline Anna Strom is an American electronic music composer and synthesist best known under the pseudonym Trans-Millenia Consort. Strom made seven recordings between 1982 and 1988 including three LPs and four cassette tapes. Her 1982 debut, Trans-Millenia Consort, was released on Ether Ship Records.
Strom grew up in a Southern Catholic family in Louisiana and Kentucky. Born blind, she learned to navigate the world largely on an auditory plane and to relate to the world through her other senses. During childhood, Strom showed an avid interest in classical music and fiction.
Strom moved to the Bay Area in the early 1970s and embarked on a career in music by acquiring synthesizers and building compositions with a Tascam four-track recorder. She regularly worked with a Yamaha DX7, Prophet 10, two CS1x keyboards and an E-mu Emulator. Deprived of sight, she taught herself to compose intuitively. She explains, "I learned as I go. And I learned through repetition—I’d try something and see what I’d get and play with it that way…If someone asked me how I did it, I honestly couldn’t say how I did it, I just did it...I went into a different space...I’d start at six at night and I could go until six in the morning.” Strom's range of equipment allowed her flexibility in composition and she used this home work station to create 7 albums. She explains: “My mind and imagination were always somewhere else. Music fit. Synthesizers fit. I felt totally at home with this set up, almost like I’d known it before”
Strom has said that she translates visual ideas into audio using her set up. She told FACT magazine, “I like to create what’s in my head and interpret that into sound." According to The Wire, her 1980’s recordings included everything from visions of ancient civilizations to late night drone meditations.
Calling herself the Trans-Millenia Consort, Strom mapped an inner world of imagined pasts, possible futures, and alternate realities. She sought to act as a "consort" for her audience, "spiriting listeners through epochs described by her evocative musical passages," according to the label, RVNG Intl.
The ability to tap into, map, and translate an "inner world" into sound recalls Pauline’s philosophy that everything in the now is rooted in the past, future and present. This approach extended across her seven albums.
Leaving music industry and re-releases
Due to financial constraints, Strom sold all her equipment, stopped making music, and focused on building a spiritual healing practice. After a silent period musically, Trans-Millenia Music, compiled from three albums and four cassette tapes recorded from 1982 through 1988 was released by RVNG Intl. in November 2017. RVNG Intl. describes the album as “a collection of transportive synthesizer music providing listeners a vessel to break beyond temporal limits into a world of pulsing, mercurial tonalities and charged, embryonic waveforms.”
The re-circulation of Pauline's music in 2017 was well received by the music press and prominent online magazines. The Wire magazine listed Trans-Millenia Music as No. 2 for Archive Releases of the Year in their 2017 end-of-year list. In an interview with FACT magazine following the release of Trans-Millenia Music, Strom stated that she is hopeful that soon she’ll be able to get hold of a digital audio workstation capable of providing as many possibilities as her previous analogue setup and resume composing music.
- Trans-Millenia Consort (LP and cassette, Ether Ship Records. 1982)
- Plot Zero (LP and cassette, Trans-Millenia Consort Recordings. 1983)
- Spectre (LP, Trans-Millenia Consort Recordings. 1984)
- The Moorish Project (cassette, Trans-Millenia Consort Recordings. 1988)
- Japanese Impressions (cassette, Trans-Millenia Consort Recordings. 1988)
- Aquatic Realms (cassette, Trans-Millenia Consort Recordings. 1988)
- Mach 3.04 (cassette, Trans-Millenia Consort Recordings. 1988)
- Trans-Millenia Music (LP, CD, RVNG Intl. 2017)
- "Pauline Anna Strom: Trans-Millenia Music Album Review". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
- Brown, Britt (2017). Trans-Millenia Music (booklet). Pauline Anna Strom. Brooklyn, New York: RVNGIntl. p. 16. ReRVNG10.
- Davis, Erik (Nov 2017). "The inner visions of Bay Area new age explorer Pauline Anna Strom reflect a lifetime of relating to the world through sound". The Wire. The Wire Magazine Ltd.
- Erik Davis (November 25, 2017). "Expanding Mind: Trans-Millenia Consort" (Podcast). Erik Davis. Event occurs at 16:13. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
- "Pauline Anna Strom dreams in color: The legendary loner synthesist on a life of innovation". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 2017-11-30. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
- Erik Davis (November 25, 2017). "Expanding Mind: Trans-Millenia Consort" (Podcast). Erik Davis. Event occurs at 05:05. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
- "Archive releases of the year". The Wire (407). June 2018. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
- "Pauline Anna Strom: Trans-Millenia Music Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
- "RVNG Intl compiles work of Bay Area synth artist Pauline Anna Strom on new LP, Trans-Millenia Music". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
- "Pauline Anna Strom: Trans-Millenia Music Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
- "Pauline Anna Strom: The blind recluse that became a secret synth pioneer". Huck Magazine. 2017-11-01. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
- "Pauline Anna Strom dreams in color: The legendary loner synthesist on a life of innovation". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 2017-11-30. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
- "Collection of works by Pauline Anna Strom to be released this November - The Wire". The Wire Magazine - Adventures In Modern Music. Retrieved 2018-01-08.