Salon De La Guerre is the musical project for Eric R. Rasmussen. Rasmussen who was born in Oklahoma and now lives in New York as a songwriter, novelist, filmmaker and journalist. Which of those titles actually pays the rent I’m not sure but as a songwriter he released a number of albums (all available on Spotify to listen to). One of his recent releases Toe-Tapping Songs of Pain and Loss is an eclectic album that combines rock, instrumental guitar picking as well as experimental sounds and atmosphere. To get to the point this is an album that has some very solid highs and some songs I wouldn't exactly call lows but that didn’t do too much for me. After a couple of spins I couldn’t help but feel ambivalence.
The album starts with “Intro,” which is the sound of a sweeping, powerful piano. Cascading notes flourish for a little over a minute before going into “Halo.” “Halo” is a poppy, rock song that is one of the best written tracks on the album. Rasmussen delivers a good vocal performance as distorted guitars, drums and bass provide the music.
“Gothic” is an odd one and will take a couple of spins to stick. The song sounds dissonant and Rasmussen is occasionally off-key but I really started to enjoy what was happening towards the second half. “If It Pleases God” isn’t exactly an easy listen either but give him kudos for trying something different and unique.
The next song “Remember John Fahey,” well guess what, it sounds like a John Fahey song. Rasmussen doesn’t quite have the skills of Fahey but he does impress with engaging, pretty guitar picking. “Kyoto” is another practice in dissonance as he combines different tones, manipulated sounds and more into a sound collage that John Cage might appreciate. Rasmussen closes with an epic, experimental genre-bending piece called “The Plane That Took Her to Heaven.” This in my opinion was the highlight of the album as the song sounded like a B-side from Oneohtrix Point Never. It’s really a great piece.
This record is so scattered with genres it’s hard to feel any fluidity and cohesiveness. I don’t mind crossing genres but sometimes it just came so out of left field it hurt my brain. That being said, there are songs and moments on here that Rasmussen finds that are pure gold. He may want to think about doing a little filtering with his future releases.
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