After making and scoring her own experimental short films (The Hum, 2018 & Echomaking, 2020), publishing her first monograph High Static, Dead Lines (Strange Attractor Press)—all while working full-time as museum curator of technology and researching how Q*bert learned to cuss from a phonetic synthesizer developed by an auto parts company in Detroit—Kristen Gallerneaux took a break. She plucked her beloved cat Forrest J. Ackerman off her synths, dunked her head in a tub of reverb and made an album. Bring on the 808 bleed and 19th Century conchs. The granular processors and spectral resonators. The “gnarled-up drum sample kit,” the bells from Arcosanti, and the random chunk of driftwood that washed ashore, ruing the cannonball that sank its mothership. EMBELLISHMENT ALERT. To be clear, this album had me at “Russian meteor run through a contact mic.”
The work of a folklorist/unrepentant homebody who enjoys quietly making bangers and a mean peach cobbler, Strung Figures was recorded in Kristen’s home studio in Metro Detroit during fall of 2020 and into winter 2021, and eventually mastered by Miles Whittaker in Manchester in the spring. In pandemic conditions of temporal drag and border decay, the terms of reverb and time stretch find their way outside, field recordings that echo the woods in Belle Isle, Detroit, or Kristen’s rural Ontario childhood haunts. If desperate for a label, try “Smoking Backwoods Industrial.” Strung Figures is listening through the modular (fogging up the glass case that holds the Moog prototype in the basement of her day job) and the analog (see driftwood), often processed through her experiences with Meniere’s Disease, an inner ear affliction that submarines her hearing, unexpectedly taking the afternoon on a pressure dive. “A constant underlying internal filter,” Kristen treats her condition with more reverb—and us with Strung Figures.
Shadow World, 2021