West coast multi-instrumentalist Paul Dickow is a busy musician. When not running his Community Library label or playing in three-piece Nudge, he has time to record and perform his own brand of busy music as Strategy.
I made a post about his latest album, Future Rock (Kranky; 2009), below and linked to Pitchfork who streams it. If you’ve listened to one but not the other, I strongly recommend doing so as they’re quite different.
As for Drumsolo’s Delight (Kranky; 2004), it is an album that haunts you. When I first listened to it, after sorting through an enormous list of IDM recommendations, slightly irritated and tired it sounded dull and unappealing but I saved it anyway.
I listened to it again the next day, not tired anymore, but it didn’t sound very different. What was different was that I liked it. It was definitely dull, but in such an appropriate way. Dull like the lines in a pointillist painting or like the edge of a finely-crafted letter opener. It was also still unappealing. But unappealing like thinking about the long process of flossing or crafting an album. It’s appropriate for these things to be dull and unappealing because ultimately they’re part of a beautiful bigger picture. And when I had the chance to appreciate this quality in Drumsolo’s Delight, it was unmistakably part of the music’s charm. When I began to hear the slow-burning shifts in drone, the subtle percussive developments, and the importance of the silence between each track, I began to see how this album’s beauty stems from a unifying desire to take its time.
That is one of the more lucid and logical ways I can describe this record. There are plenty of others. For example, the cover art seems to show some sort of run-down, residential complex in Japan from the 70s. But the more you look at it, the more you see how bizarre and alluring it is; it resembles reality enough to trick you, but not enough to conceal its impossible dimensions, its patchwork construction, or the building-sized leaves. Similarly, upon first listening, this album appeared to be rather ordinary; but as my state of mind changed, so too was my perception of its regularity raveled.
But I’ve been smug and inefficient so far in my analysis of this album, so allow me to borrow a strategy from a better writer than myself: I will locate each track situationally, geographically, and temporally:
Track 1 - Walking along the pier, Tunis, Tunisia, 4:46 a.m., June 17th, 2412
Track 2 – Riding the space elevator to work, boarded in Chicago, USA, 6:37 a.m., October 28th, 2249
Track 3 – At a cafe enjoying a latte experience, watching your cyborg lover serve tables, realizing you’re falling in love with them, London, UK, 2:34pm, April 10th, 2158
Track 4 - At a crowded blip-hop club, Berlin, Germany, Just past midnight, August 23rd, 2021
Track 5 - Making new friends at a beach party at night with the moon out, Montego Bay, Jamaica, 10:54pm, September 4th, 2043
Track 6 - At a not so crowded blip-hop club, Tokyo, Japan, 9:45pm, February 26th, 2025
Track 7 - Waking up on a rainy saturday morning with your cyborg lover, making passionate love for seemingly hours, only to fall asleep together, wake up again and have breakfast in bed, Portland, USA, 9:14 a.m., January 3rd, 2167
*When I mentioned the day for the last track, I wanted to see if the date I put down will actually be a saturday. I looked up january 3rd, 2167 on timeanddate.com and guess what? It’s a saturday. o_O