GABIE STRONG “Spectress” C30 (Crystalline Morphologies)


Gabie Strong announces her presence in Spectress as totally a specter, but with an intentionally female construction. What’s interesting is that the recordings on Spectress – one from Complex, Glendale, California, January 26, 2016; the other from Non Plus Ultra, Los Angeles, January 20, 2016 – don’t point toward any gender at all, and as such the spirit worlds conjured by Strong’s guitar/synthesizer setups remain distinctly that: ungendered spirits. But I think the point is probably lost in the end anyway, the title perhaps merely serving as non-symbolic identifier. Regardless of whichever way you choose to read it, Spectress is all about disembodied forces coalescing within a performance and then recorded to tape. Let’s just listen to it.
Over a steady drone, “Sunset Circuit” finds Strong layering feedback and effects to enhance tension, building ever-so-slowly over sixteen minutes to an unstable conclusion of humid feedback, which is odd given the utter lack of humidity in Southern California at any given time. “Taphthartharath” (that’s a mouthful, and a lot of T’s and H’s!) on side B is where it breaks, the feedback divebombing you unrelentingly. It’s like a tidal wave of rocks and nails cascading from a junkyard ocean and obliterating your senses, until you’re only able to perceive the piercing tones left in its wake. Do be careful when listening on headphones – check the volume!