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Sad Rockets

Used to be, if you wanted to make a record, you had to get out of the house, even if it was only to go to the garage. Technology has rendered even that locomotion optional, as DATs, drum machines, sequencers, and samplers allow just about anyone -- agoraphobics included -- to record (semi)professionally without ever leaving his or her bedroom.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, quite a few stiff-legged, four-on-the-floor techno albums out there sound like they were created by pimply-faced stoner dweebs, not to mention all the doleful, scratchy, out-of-tune pop performed by guys who never quite got over being dateless at the senior prom. But Sad Rockets' latest record, Transition, isn't among these.

The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Andrew Pekler, who was raised in California but now resides in Germany, Sad Rockets' music sounds like what you'd imagine a Californian now living in Germany hears in his head -- ominous, rumbling noir soundtracks with a sickly sunshine occasionally breaking through. With ancient-seeming Hammond keyboards slashing across booming, slow-motion bass lines, the best tracks on Transition have the paranoid chill of the original Get Carter score crossed with the suave cool of Isaac Hayes' "Shaft." Though Pekler occasionally falls into solipsistic navel-gazing, more often than not Transition sounds right as the nights get longer -- perfect for sitting at home, lost in thought.

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Steven Mirkin

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