Boomkat Product Review:
Andrew Pekler's first album as SG is a sentimental, homespun collection of sliced-up guitar compositions that takes Chicago's jazzy post-rock sound and turns its tangled riffs into faint vapors. RIYL Labradford, Tortoise, Fennesz or Oren Ambarchi.
If you've only heard Pekler's dubby, experimental abstractions, then 'For Lovers Only / Rain Suite' will come as a surprise. There's a difference in tone evident from the first crackle of 'Sentimental Guitar Dream', that filters humming electric guitar riffs through a handful of Pekler's effects pedals, stepping them into a tremolo-like rhythm. Once this textural base has been laid down, Pekler adds dust-swept licks and organ-esque sustained tones, capturing the blissful cinematic sound of Chicago bands like Labradford and Tortoise but minimizing the bluster. The first side of the record, titled 'For Lovers Only', is where Pekler emphasizes his most personal, romantic inclinations - something missing from his more overtly psychedelic experiments like 'Tristes Tropiques' and 'Sounds From Phantom Islands'. Here, Pekler sounds as if he's at home alone, improvising into a four track recorder and seeing where the mood might take him.
'Forever (Is No Time At All)' is our favorite of this short suite, a dreamy, lilting combo of lap-steel styled bowed tones, brittle, breezy strums and subtle, jazzy Americana. At its best, it comes off like a DIY answer to Daniel Lanois' elegant, guitar-led soundscapes; Pekler doesn't write in full widescreen, the music is evocative but not exaggerated. And this mood is only accentuated on the second side 'Rain Suite'. Playing against field recordings of rain (the Berlin summer, basically), he lets the guitar talk in a languid chatter, seemingly unaware what its next step might be. His use of effects is subtle but noticeable, corralling his clouds of notes into stuttering clusters that appear to imitate the rainfall. It creates a neat sound, not quite ambient as such, but environmentally aware, slipping into the background when necessary.
Looping his asymmetrical improvisations and diminishing the quality carefully, Pekler arrives on a method that's lo-fi without resorting to the usual flutter of tape loops and vinyl crackle. It's an endearing ploy that lends the album a unique quality - it's narcotic and hypnotic, comforting and mollifying. The soundtrack to a snow day, or a lazy Sunday.