Cut-Out continued the musical relationship between grunge superproducer Steve Fisk and Robert Beerman following the breakup of their previous band, the long-lived indie rock instrumentalists Pell Mell. Unlike Pell Mell, which was sometimes cited as a kindred spirit of the rockist wing of the post-rock movement, Cut-Out was a largely electronic affair, yet shared the soundtrack-friendly approach of its predecessor. Their music invited a tremendous range of comparisons: early electronics experimenters (Cluster, Brian Eno, Kraftwerk), synth minimalists (Young Marble Giants, Cabaret Voltaire), electronic indie bands (Enon, Manitoba, French Paddleboat, Optiganally Yours), kitschy avant lounge (Stereolab, Asmus Tietchens' Hematic Sunsets), post-rock (Fridge, Couch), and dub (particularly Adrian Sherwood). Cut-Out grew out of the sessions for the final Pell Mell album, 1997's Star City, which was produced and engineered by cult favorite Tchad Blake. One of the instruments Blake used on the record was a home organ called the Fun Machine, which came with a set of preprogrammed rhythms and chordal accompaniments. After Star City was finished, Fisk and Beerman kept working with the Fun Machine, and recorded an eclectic, dryly humorous set of electronic compositions using its preprogrammed elements. This material constituted their first album, Interlude With Fun Machine; despite its completion in 2001, it wasn't issued until two years later on the Starlight Furniture label.
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