Dusted Reviews

Andrew Pekler - Strings and Feedback

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Andrew Pekler

Album: Strings and Feedback

Label: Staubgold

Review date: Nov. 13, 2005

On his website, Andrew Pekler describes Strings and Feedback as his first foray into making music that concentrates on texture rather than rhythm. Fittingly, he constructed it using samples of compositions by Morton Feldman, whose scores sometimes proscribed notes but left rhythm up to the musicians.

The record backs up its title with layers of looped strings and throws in piano on the side. The feedback is soft, sometimes even romantic; it is calming yet portentous, like clouds scuttling past the moon. Pekler's manipulations bring out the texture of the samples like varnish on wood, his bowed notes amplified so each and every hair gets its say. The assemblage of compositional elements is almost a meta-texture; it sounds like water color painting, outer space and ocean depths.

While Pekler suggests that Strings and Feedback isn't rhythm-oriented, he uses beat and tempo as tools to emphasize sonic texture. In "Ongondok," Pekler juxtaposes two pizzicato loops of different lengths and tempos. This makes it impossible for the listener to locate a coherent beat and therefore refocuses his attention on texture. "Pale Fyr" uses pocket-sized drones as the notes of a textural melody.

In a classically experimental move, the album's art effaces language, process, and the identity of the composer. There are no liner notes, so only the title suggests how the pieces were made. The samples are uncredited, and only a visit to Pekler's site reveals the connection to Feldman. The song titles– misspelled Nabakov and fake Russian – are playful and irrelevant. The absence of incidental trappings give the listener few signposts on what to feel or how to listen. This makes people who need contextualization truly bilious: one reviewer went so far as to declare Strings and Feedback "high-minded bullshit." Don't listen to the humbug. Strings and Feedback does not need to be contextualized to be understood.

By Josie Clowney

Read More

View all articles by Josie Clowney

Find out more about Staubgold

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.