Review: Strategy — ‘The Infinite File’

Paul Dickow has recorded under the moniker Strategy for dozens of releases. His new album, The Infinite File, released March 3rd on cassette and digitally from the forward-thinking Geographic North, is a smearing of what Dickow does best: variable looping and effects without losing listeners in the minutiae.

The Infinite File arises with “Noise Tape Emax,” a hazy drone and chug sound that a tire makes as it hits the seams on a bridge or freeway. Voices briefly chant and more layering leads to a flawless mix of mood and melody. Stuff pings and bounces throughout the song and the sounds deepen and sustain a collection of beautifully woven parts. “Be Careful With That Ax–60, Eugene” is more about abstraction. The rhythmic knob turning resonates as the song inches closer to the removal of a previous work. Fans of Tim Hecker or William Basinski will feel right at home with “Two Echoes” as it resembles the woozy, scattered digitized memories these artists have and continue to explore.

Side B is far more gradual, but arguably heavier. The whoosh and graceful drone of “Persistence of Memory” bathes layers of warmth and distant spinning sounds. Imagine lying on a rowboat at night, having the city lights and/or stars blur above you. “Occurrence at the Triple Door” has the right foot on the pedal and blares energy to and fro. The left channel moves thick bass lines while the front is continually peaking and dropping. The early-distorted hum on “Requiem for Apex Predators” meanders like a river into some dense scenery. Clocking in at just less than 11 minutes, “Requiem” constructs a full-frame beast of sound and then lets it fizzle faster than the 11 minutes would suggest.

Dickow’s solo work as Strategy remains closely partnered within the science and manipulation of “how” and “why” while canvasing a distinctly reachable sound of wonder. There’s a deep meditative quality in much of Dickow’s sound art and tape collaging and The Infinite Loop matures into a collection worth investing in. Play continually and watch as your room, walls are coated with fragmented celebrations and future days.

(You can listen to The Infinite File below via Bandcamp and get more info about Strategy HERE.)

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