Redux, the latest album from Portland, Oregon musician, poet, and multimedia artist Dao Strom, is a collection of ten resurrected pieces. Reimagining songs she initially composed as a member of the Austin alt-country and singer-songwriter scenes of the early 2000s, Strom reworks these lost songs into ambient-folk mini-epics—part grounded and earthly, part ethereal and otherworldly. The follow-up to her acclaimed 2020 book and album art project, Instrument/Traveler's Ode, Redux is a haunting song-cycle about loved ones, the natural world, and the nuances of emotional memory and Vietnamese diasporic identity.
released March 2, 2022
§ all songs written, performed, recorded, produced by Dao Strom
§ mixed and mastered by Jason Powers
§ This is an album of old songs revisited. And so they contain emotional seeds, ebbs and flows, images, memories, questions, and wrestlings, wending through the past 10-18 years of my life. They are love songs and not-love songs, nods to memory, ancestry, the land, ghosts, nature, to the warble-mysteries of my own spirit and heart. They are songs that arose out of certain moments in time but, like smoke from a fire, do not retain the shape of what initially sparked them. They are longings and connections that could not be held except as transmuted into song; songs to be sung, songs I have sung, might always sing.
§ Some of these songs were recorded on earlier albums, with players who were both my friends and collaborators during a time when I played music in another state, another way of being, years ago. While I still cherish the music made in that period with those friends, the transition away from that milieu held, also, its bittersweetnesses, as well as, for me, its necessity. I wrote my songs from a place of honesty in those times, yet in re-recording discovered in them even truer timbres. As if the songs had been waiting for me all this time, to come back to them, to reclaim something left undone; still hidden; left othered. The word redux means “brought back; revived”; a sense of something restored. It has taken me this many years to truly hear—to allow—my own music. Why it took this long, what it is that was so hard to shake, what needed to erode or clarify or evolve within myself, to lighten the obstacle, will be, I hope, communicated through the songs themselves now. These songs have been my teachers. They have also been places of my own making and discoveries and recoveries. Maps to territories esoteric and amorphous; containers of weathers and waters.
§ These re-recordings were made in my home from 2020-2021. They are made mostly of voice and guitar. The album opens and closes with acknowledgments of water. The opening song is one seeded almost 20 years ago, one summer in a house facing the sea on the southern coast of Oregon, my first alighting to the Pacific Northwest. The water sounds near the end of the album are drawn from the meeting point of two rivers that mark a confluence in the city where I now live. Like much of my writing, these songs are of a water-nature. They are moon-songs, interior reflections, Piscean-moon articulations of things difficult to articulate. —ds, 12/2021
"In spite of the album's spare nature, nothing about 'Redux' allows for a fade into the background. Its quietude, instead, creates an immersive mood. Its soft vocals, reverb guitars, and washes of found sounds—like the lapping of waves on the beach—transmute the listener into a focused respite, pleasantly holding them there until the very last song." - Razorcake
"Hauntingly beautiful." - Bandcamp New and Notable
"So many artists try to create what Dao Strom has here, but few have captured the heart like this...As far as sparse folk music in 2022 is concerned, there will have to be something truly special to transcend the grace of Dao Strom’s Redux." - Sun 13