An enduring work of positivity and hope that should inspire fellow trans individuals.
An enduring work of positivity and hope that should inspire fellow trans individuals.

Seattle electronic-music producer/songwriter/vocalist Stres (aka Sasha Bolof) is marking her transition from male to female with the nine-minute epic track "She/Her Me/You," released yesterday on Bandcamp. Bolof (formerly named Josh) describes "She/Her Me/You" as "a... love song with three parts woven into one. But mostly I'm using the song to come out to the world as trans. I wanted a broad statement of visibility with the community of musicians and people who don't already know yet."

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There are other trans musicians and DJs active in Seattle, of course: Hanssen (aka Brit Hansen) and Reverend Dollars (aka Renee Jarreau Greene), to name two. But Stres may be the first to blatantly announce their new identity musically. And the further good news is that "She/Her Me/You" is worthy of repeat listens.

Previously working in the downcast and wistful shoegaze-rock vein (Stranger Genius Erik Blood co-produced Stres' Old Lives EP), Bolof here starts with a pensive, poignant guitar (or is it a keyboard?) ostinato with suspenseful cymbal taps and a methodically funky rhythm that seem to be undergirded by a sample of someone sweeping a linoleum floor. The second section decelerates into a mournful ballad with distorted vocals and distant, thuggish drums. The conclusion recalls the slowcore tenderness of Bedhead or even Talk Talk circa Laughing Stock, although buttressed with thick, ominous beats and ethereal strings. What a grand, ceremonial denouement.

Throughout, Stres pleads for life's most basic essentials with a blurred passion: love, shelter, and peace. It's a potent personal journey rendered in sonic colors as complex as the lyrics are fundamental. The song might not translate easily into a trans anthem for the masses, but "She/Her Me/You" sounds like an enduring work of positivity and hope that will inspire fellow trans individuals and (one hopes) make others empathize.

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