America has surrendered to its insecurity. We have surrounded ourselves with a million cameras, alarms, and home security systems promising an armed response to all intruders. When this fails, our fear moves us to gated "communities" —a return to the walled towns of the Dark Ages.
Despite all the extreme measures we've taken to gain some peace of mind, we still can't shake the feeling we're being watched, counted, manipulated. Perhaps we have focused so excessively on prowlers and other dark shadows that we can't feel the stare of modern industry's invisible eye. Today we enjoy virtually no privacy as the technology of surveillance is turned upon us; our every consumer move is observed, analyzed and filed.
TRANS AM's third record, The Surveillance, is the first record recorded and mixed entirely by the band. Their home studio, the Bridge, took several months to build. The Surveillance was to take an equal amount of time as the band labored hard to give the recording what they call "a dangerous quality" . What is dangerous to TRANS AM? It is no noise reduction, no digital tape compression, and no computer aided editing. Instead they relied on live performances, hours of hard work, hands-on mixing, careful microphone placement, and, to quote the band, "faith in their experimental vision." They built the Bridge to allow themselves this freedom, and they ran with it.
The results are raw, sparse electronic breaks mixed with diesel-powered rock and roll. TRANS AM put it in more masculine terms—"balls-to-the-wall- rockers", which perhaps better capture not only the sound but the intent. TRANS AM tour almost constantly. The Surveillance captures the urgent energy of their live performance. On the electronic side, several drum machines, keyboards and effects processors have been added to their tremendously outdated arsenal, though TRANS AM are unwilling to divulge the specifics. Paranoid? Hardly. Some things are just too important to share.
When asked to describe the results of the careful construction known as The Surveillance, TRANS AM merely stated, this is "A no bullshit album.