Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Indie Music: Ransom Scenery "Ear to Ear"

by Germar Derron

I spent time with this. I dug in deep for weeks to really digest the experience. No, I'm not pretending to be a serious listener of esoteric high art music. And that makes me an ideal reviewer of the project. First things first, you don't have to be an avant-garde fan to be a fan of this album.

Oddly, the tracks sound familiar--not common or contrived, just familiar. Familiarity aids all art forms. At first listen, I thought, "I don't know what this is, but I know where it's going." They must have backgrounds as serious music students. As distinct as this is, it follows a western music road map. It will never play on a top 40 station, but it won't offend your senses either.

I hesitate to even think of this as indie because it sounds pro. But how do I know, when I have nothing to compare it to? I realized that as a former music major and student house engineer, I am a veteran of the new music field. That's where my consciousness drifts to--effects, odd video, nontraditional instruments, and songs that aren't songs. That's why this sounds "pro." It's not the torture I endured in my early twenties.  It's what those students hoped to accomplish.

The tracks remind me of my trip-hop days, but somehow far less dark and more grounded?. It might be the lack of proximity in the vocals, or the overall space and air of most tracks. Pieces of this might appear as a part of many more commercial projects from bands like The Killers or The Strokes. The songs that feature vocals especially feel like they're that non-radio track, from that one album that no one talks about but me (e.g., see "Gasm of the Heart").

I guess the thing that separates Ransom Scenery from other awful experimental artists is melody and harmony. Throughout the experiment, the music remains musical. And I can clearly hear the rock, pop, and even hip-hop influences.

Check out the video and leave your comments below.

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