Andrew Pekler - Cue [Kranky - 2007]Library music is referenced in the press release for Cue. Library records include a wide variety of music intended for use by film, TV and commericals. For that reason, you never know what you're going to get until the needle hits the groove. Perhaps that excitement for the unknown is what inspired Andrew Pekler to assemble this album.
Each track is described below each song title in relation to what instruments or sounds were used. For example, the first track On is sub-labeled "driving piano-led theme w/uplifting feedback sweeps and coda", the second track Roomsound is followed by the description "ambiguous western atmosphere resolving into children's tune, swirling cymbals added" and so on. Sounds a little gimmicky, and in some ways that is true.
The song descriptions may be in homage to library music, but the music is actually a bit different than you might expect. Cue is for the most part relatively unassuming, so it's quite possible that it could slip by you without making an impression on the first listen. There are elements of electronica, not unlike the seemingly thousands of releases hatched on laptops and bedroom computers over the past ten or fifteen years. Thankfully though, Pekler has the smarts to layer this music with real instruments like keyboards, guitars, percussion and analog equipment.
There is a nostalgic feel to Cue, and it has a kind of warmth. The more driving tunes remind me a bit of early Tangerine Dream, Cluster or Neu. The shorter tunes (Pensive Boogie, Dust Mite and Mote) are more like sketches than actual songs. Perhaps because of their length they're intended as transition pieces, but as such, they don't really manage to connect the dots.
Most of the longer pieces work quite well on their own, and on succesive listens, they begin to take hold. The phase effects, feedback, rhythyms and keyboard melodies are thoughtfully put together making for an interesting listen, either in the backgound or the foreground.Erwin Michelfelder