From Andrew Pekler: Typically, library music albums were not available to the general public but were marketed directly to film, TV and commercial production companies. Judging by the information provided on the record sleeves, these consumers of library music were assumed to have little interest in the identities of the individuals who actually wrote and played the music, the musicians' names often being relegated to the very small print. Instead, it appears that the functional aspects of the product were of foremost importance; the persistently generic names of the tracks and their descriptions, durations and suggestions for their usage are the ubiquitous features of library album packaging. At the same time, the name of the production studio itself is given the kind of front cover top-billing usually reserved for a performer or composer (or to brand names on boxes of corn flakes).
A picture emerges of near-anonymous composers, musicians and arrangers going to work 9 to 5, producing music according to functional-aesthetic guidelines for a never to be seen customer, further removed than even the session players at Motown or Studio One ever were from the glamour of pop or the pretense of individual artistry. This sort of faceless assembly line production runs counter to the conventional (western) practice of connecting creative works with individuals deemed to be their authors.
On the other hand, this apparent anonymity and subordination to quasi-utilitarian determinants does have its own liberating potential. Freed of the obligations of personal expression, one can simply work with the material at hand, concentrating on discrete aesthetic objectives without being unduly concerned for the overall "meaning" of the work. To paraphrase John Cage, the artist is free to have nothing to say and to say it.
With this in mind Andrew Pekler conceived and produced Cue. Starting from short expository phrases setting forth a track's instrumentation, mood and development (reproduced on the back cover), Pekler attempted to construct pieces to fit these specific criteria. During the process of assembly a track would more often than not evolve beyond its prescribed limits (in these cases, the descriptive blurbs have been updated to reflect the changes). This "dog walking man" method turned out to be a fertile middle ground between the micro-managed jazz miniatures of Nocturnes, False Dawns & Breakdowns (2004) and the expansive improvisations of Strings + Feedback (2005) and may help to explain why Cue sounds very little like its predecessors. On the whole it is a vibrant, playful album with the occasional somber passage providing some contrast to the predominantly ebullient tone. Piano and analog synthesizer sounds abound while percussion (when used) is typically reduced to a minimum of tom toms, bells and unidentified noises. Feedback can be heard in almost every track but taking on more subtle textural roles, guitars get the occasional spotlight and men are wearing pastels again this spring.
It should be noted that Cue is not an attempt to re-create, re-imagine or re-contextualize library music of past eras. It is not a post-modern exercise in citation, juxtaposition or collage. The attempt to re-create the "style" of library music would be pointless anyway as the music found on library records does not adhere to any distinct stylistic or aesthetic formula. Instead, library music can be defined by the formal constraints pertaining to its mode of production and it is the appropriation and application of these same constraints that have enabled and inspired Andrew Pekler to produce the music for this album.
"...rich, strange and occasionally opressive; chamber music from a chamber that couldn't exist. Lovely." BBC Experimental
Andrew Pekler has previous releases on Scape and Staubgold, is one third of the Kosmischer Pitch live band, and is part of an as yet unnamed project with Jan Jelenik and Hanno Leichtmann.