Andrew Pekler
The Prepaid Piano & Replayed [LP; Senufo Editions]

Juxtapositions of technology and music have long ruled art — both as visual and aural medium. It’s a debate at the center of organic vs. synthetic, one that in and of itself often has captured an instrument’s true intention while ignoring its exerted purpose. Andrew Pekler’s representation of the never-ending circle comes in the form of a nearly 2-year old art installation in which five mobile phones were placed inside a piano, triggered by an audience’s calling each phone at any given time. A bunch of other technical jargon later and we’re gifted with The Prepaid Piano & Replayed. The results unfold like a test tube experiment on each side: the A-side the “organic” results; the B-side a reconfigured arrangement (of sorts) based on a MIDI algorithm. The truly strange part is how robotic and prepared the A-side is compared to its technologically determined B-side. Not only has Pekler made a cruel statement which provides little evidence for either side to use to further their debate, he turns it into a well-deserved joke. In truth, the end user is the litmus test and just like opinions, we’re all assholes who must argue for/against something rather than accept/reject nothing. Removed from this sort of lab rat hypothesis, it should be noted The Prepaid Piano & Replayed (the ampersand separating the individual names of each side, in case you were curious as to its strange title) is a difficult listening experience. There’s no other way to sugar coat it. But don’t mistake ‘difficult’ for awful. On the contrary, it’s just that without the context in which each side was crafted, Pekler’s experiment can seem rudderless. Which only complicates these imaginative debates about the realness of the manufactured and the facade of what constitutes an organic instrument. Much like Pekler, the man with a plastic bucket and some branches will have as much say as the old scientists and sonic experimenters who toiled at large Moogs.

Cerberus

Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

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