Andrew Pekler is the solitary man behind Sad Rockets and unlike a lot of his contemporaries creating music that falls into the same genre as his, supposedly his is all done on a four track recorder with real instruments instead of a lot of computer tomfoolery. Now, that might be all fine and dandy if his compositions sounded like banged-out bedroom jobs like most people recording on four tracks, but in the case of Pekler, this stuff is pretty darn cool any way he laid down the sound.
Transition is one of those albums that sort of slides between genre lines and sounds like something familiar and new all at the same time. At points, you'll feel like you're listening to a pumped-up theme to a 70's cop show, while at other times it sounds like something you'd rather put on when the lights are low and you're entertaining a guest with a bottle of wine and a nice dinner. There are echoes of several different groups and styles in the 13 tracks (and almost 70 minutes) that make up the album, yet it's also a pretty darn cohesive piece as well, never feeling like it's going off the deep end.
Part of the reason that I think maybe Pekler makes a point of mentioning that his compositions are put together on a 4 track instead of a computer is that they really don't sound like typical four-track recordings at all. The first track "Senio Junior" lays down multiple layers of analog keyboards over some echoing blips and fuzzy drums, and it sounds like a perfect companion track to something off fellow Deutschlander Martin Gretschmann's (Console) release Rocket In The Pocket. On the second track, though, he switches up gears again into a grimy funk number called "Heavy Meta" that should have probably been on the soundtrack of the remake of Shaft. The drums are absolutely soaked with feedback (and it gives them a really strange quality), while Pekler lays down a funky, stuttering bassline and some squiggling keyboards.
On "Boogie Electric," he breaks out an upright bass and a gritty sound sample and the whole feel is again something very cinematic, almost like a David Holmes album. One of the nicest tracks on the album is the pretty ambience of "Winter's Over." With some simple guitar strumming over some simple atmospherics, it's like Michael Brook without the repetition and makes a nice track even though the majority of the cold season is still ahead of us. He even turns a sample (or perhaps a live recording) of dripping water into a dub-infected shuffle on "Leaky Faucet Skank."
Like a good artist trying to make a name for himself, though, he saves one of his best tracks for the name dropping "Sad Rocket's Rock Steady." With some snappy drums and swaggering horns and guitar, the track has so much smooth shuffle that you'll be moving your ass even if it's firmly planted in a chair. Overall, the album is one that has some in common with the above mentioned Console, as well as more of a live, gritty feel coupled with a touch of Kruder and Dorfmeister. It's organic electronic, or something like that, and it's one of the cooler chill albums of the year.