If it's your desire to assemble a collection of the 20th century's seminal works of electronic music, add this new collection of Pauline Anna Strom's recordings to your shopping list.
Strom produced solo electronic music from 1982 to 1988, earning herself a reputation among listeners in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, which she called home. She was part of a proto-Silicon Valley electronic music scene that influenced a generation of like-minded artists.
At the same time as she was drawing from contemporaries like Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream, Strom was contributing her uniquely colourful approach to electronic music composition that would reverberate for decades.
This collection of 13 works (the digital download offers two additional bonus tracks) is overdue. As electronic music evolved, her non-programmed style fell somewhat out of favour. As a result, she hasn't been celebrated to the extent she deserved.
Listening now to standout pieces like "Bonsai Terrace," with its gently evocative keyboard lines, it's easy to draw a straight line from her work to the new age scene that followed. The difference, of course, is that the work of pioneers like Strom had integrity — not to mention novelty — that too many of their followers lacked.
Blind since birth, Strom's best work is remarkably visual: "Cruising Altitude 36,000 Feet" is pure sci-fi wonderfulness; "Spatial Spectre" will fill your head with pure futurism.
Certainly, this is a style of electronic music unfamiliar — and perhaps unappealing — to many young listeners. It's not for everyone. Just the same, it can fairly be described as an important document in the history of electronic music in the 1980s. (RVNG Intl.)