Tabs Out | roger mpr – Unproductive Muzak

roger mpr – Unproductive Muzak
7.25.17 by Ryan Masteller

roger mpr

I lived in London for a time a few years ago, and I always found the City – the financial center of London – to be a weird, fascinating place, not merely because it was a ghost town on the weekends (it was) but also because of the so-called Gherkin. The Big Pickle (that’s what I called it, because I’m stupid) towered (sort of) above/among its surroundings, its architecture always a point of interest to uninformed passersby. I mean, honestly, what was the engineer on who decided that a pickle-shaped building was a good idea? Was it … weed? It was weed. Because why else would anyone decide that a pickle-shaped building is a good idea?

Still, there it stands, a ridiculous monument to corporate hubris smack in the middle of the London skyline. It begs the imagination to fill in the blanks, to conjure monumental and monumentally ridiculous (or simply terrifying) decisions being made in buildings like that, decisions that affect all of us, not just Londoners or Brits. And as you’re contemplating what goes on at the highest levels of business (honestly, just let your mind wander as far as it wants), you also have to contemplate what music is playing in the various lobbies and reception areas that dot the structure. Because this is a music review. You HAVE to consider the music. And fortunately, there’s this guy, roger mpr (with no capital letters – does that make him “anti-capital[ist]” [har har!]?!), who got his hands on a bunch of Muzak CDs and likely asked himself a question similar to this one: “What would it sound like if I turned the idea of corporate soundtracking for narcotization on its head and instead made something terrifying out of it?”

The result is not vaporwave (though no shame on you for thinking that’s probably what you’d get). The result is much weirder, as the Muzak is deconstructed into tones and processed into the aural equivalent of night terrors. It’s like roger took the CDs and ran them through a paper shredder (don’t worry, mine handles CDs), taped them randomly together so that they once again resembled a CD, and ripped them to his desktop. I know, I know, the reconstituted CDs would be unplayable, but if you COULD play them, you’d probably get something that sounds like “unproductive muzak.” Ominous samples? Check. Ghostly glitches? Check. Static, otherworldly intrusions? Check. Basinski-esque disintegration? Check. A soundtrack fit for Lucky 7 Insurance and all its attendant malevolence and barely veiled spiritual interaction? Double, triple, quadruple check. Music made by corporations, for corporations, turned inside out is as weird and unsettling as the source material. Let’s do a reversal, then, and play roger mpr in office settings! See how productive everybody is then. (Hint: The answer is “not productive.”)

I feel like I’ve talked about Hylé Tapes before. So Hylé Tapes, Hylé Tapes, Hylé Tapes, Hylé Tapes, Hylé Tapes. Only an edition of 30 for “unproductive muzak” – and <5 remaining!

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