I was listening to the new Rangers album on the train home from Edinburgh to Glasgow last night. I’ve been struggling with it a bit, for reasons that I think are similar to the Real Estate record I mentioned in the last post. It creates a related set of resonances which I’m not totally comfortable enjoying – hold music, as heard through a phone earpiece; ringtones, as heard distorting through the tiny, tinny speakers on a mobile phone; karaoke, heard through an overdriven, poorly engineered PA from outside the room in which it’d being performed; pop music overheard through headphones.
I think it’s a combination of the generic song structures, cheesy, low budget instrumentation and distorted, noisy and effect smothered production that makes this music so intriguing. You could take it as a comment on the increasing pervasiveness of low quality music reproduction, the ease with which music can be made, distributed, reproduced and heard (increasing the prevalence and availability of generic, cheesy, effect laden and low quality tracks), and the lack of attention that’s generally paid to the fidelity of the reproduction, or the extent to which one’s fellow humans might, or might not, want to be exposed to it. You could also take it as some slightly rubbish songs which have been badly recorded. The Rangers interview in The Wire a while ago certainly indicates that, from the creator’s point of view, it’s just some songs.
As with the Real Estate record, I think it’s the tension between naiveté and consciousness, or between resistance and celebration, that makes this an interesting listen. It could be dismissed as the poorly rendered backing track to some generic but inescapable corporate intrusion into an otherwise ethical life. It could also be taken to be a comment on exactly that. However, the fact that it’s so listenable makes me feel that, much like the Real Estate record, it’s a means of coming to terms with something that should be resisted, a panacea for the auditory manifestations of corporate neglect.