Sell the Tape Machine | Ross Ingram

Album Review
Number of Tracks: 10
Estimated Listening Time: 36 min 39 sec
Year of Release: 2021
Genre: Pop, Rock, Easy Listening
Record Label: Hogar Records

Ross Ingram is a professional musician, producer, sound engineer, and owner at Brainville Music based in El Paso, Texas. Besides performing and releasing music under his own name, Ingram also plays guitar and keys in the El Paso Shoegaze band, EEP, and People Pet Music.

“Sell the Tape Machine” is Ingram’s debut full-length album. It is a 10-track mood-filled album with musical influences spanning across a capacious range of styles and genres. Although laced with some modern pop components and enveloped with contemporary production techniques, “Sell the Tape Machine” still manages to retain and evoke quite a unique feel and color of its own that sets it apart from scores of supposedly thematically similar music albums.

Although structured with quite some musical and poetic uniformity in the aspects of lyric and music, the album still manages to flaunt a certain degree of heterogeneity as diverse musical elements from different musical styles can be felt coming together to give a cohesive but diverse musical and lyrical idiom.

Ingram’s soothing vocals coupled with his top-notch production and musical/song-writing skills births an album that is not only technical but quite emotional. He manages to paint diverse emotional colors from track to track. Without referring to the lyrical contents, one can still feel strong emotional dynamics in the album’s overall musical [not lyrical] statement. Worthy of note is Ingram’s somewhat stringent approach to tempo, which adds some uniformity and cohesiveness to the album. Although subtly stringent with tempo, Ingram, however, brings flexibility and color to the rhythm. It reminds me of Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism.

In the aspect of instrumentation, Ingram adopts a less stringent and more experimentative, and free-spirited approach. Synths, acoustic/electric guitars, bass, keys, drums, and percussion interlocks to create familiar but scintillating musical backings to the smooth and emotion-filled vocals of Ingram. Careful listening will unveil [not basically hidden] elements of rock, pop, Trance, and metal in tracks like “Walled In,” and “Marionette.”

Ingram explores themes of love, sadness, happiness, loneliness, vulnerability, and hope. Lyrically, “Sell the Tape Machine” is quite dynamic in theme, as Ingrams explores diverse lyrical colors and reflects on personal struggles and victories. There numerous build-ups, lyrical climaxes, and resolutions. This struggle and resolution are quite evident in the lyric of the beginning track “Sell the Tape Machine” where Ingram contemplates giving up on making music, and getting an office job, or going back to school. Ingram however vows to continue making music towards the end of the album.

Although being known more as a remarkable music producer than as a songwriter, Ingram still shows a very high degree of ingenuity and proficiency in songwriting. In a recent blog post, Ingram had this to say about the 10-track album:

“I have been working on or trying to work on putting out a solo full length for a maddeningly long time, but making records with other people or other bands often took priority. To be able to put out something of my own is truly incredible. I spent a lot of time writing and recording this record and am exceedingly proud of how it turned out. I hope that everyone else enjoys it, but no matter what happens with it, I know I made a record that I love, and that’s enough.”

– Ross Ingram
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