Strategy is the singular, long-running alias of Portland mainstay Paul Dickow, now more than a 20 year adventure. Despite the sense of intention conveyed by Strategy’s alias, his musical creations originate in unexpected surprises and visceral exploration and discovery. Strategy’s omnivorous discography includes experiments in ambient, dub, techno, house, post-rock, audio-visual performance, and noise. With the coming release of his 20th album in late 2023, Strategy has become an enduring underground figure.
True Believers explores the resonances of first-person UFO narratives. Though I am personally an agnostic of the UFO/UAP phenomenon, I am privately an enthusiastic listener of UFO experiencer storytelling. When I listen to first-person UFO stories, I find myself transported to an uncomfortable space. As a voyeur, I’m not validating these stories, I’m just relishing their preposterous, uncanny, or crude elements. These are endless, idiosyncratic iterations of pop-cultural UFO folklore. Are these people true believers? Are they telling tall tales? Is it modern folklore, like ghost stories, or are these beliefs religious in nature? Is there a spectrum that includes all of these? True Believers is a digital intertwining of found UFO narratives and musical elements. It is a meditation on my multiple, sometimes problematic and judgmental indulgences as a listener. I am sitting with peoples’ sensations of what feels true, no matter how preposterous; sitting with the inescapable virality of American beliefs in the unprovable; sitting with my own indecision around whether to believe; and, most importantly, sitting with peoples’ yearning for lives saturated with mystery.
For me, deep listening is a daily activity. It transports me away from my mundane, fraught physical reality to another world that is steeped in infinite mystery.