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Archive for the ‘Salon De La Guerre’ Category

Infinity BoyThis week I hit a couple of milestones. I’ve reached one of those fun ages with a gawping new zero in it. And I’ve also released my 22nd album, containing my third symphony.

It’s called Infinity Boy. Like my other two faux-symphonic efforts Gravitas: A Life and The Widowhood of Bunny, it’s an electronic work with pretenses toward being a string orchestra piece or string quartet. It’s also the only way I can musically express my love of Prokofiev given my current limitations: I can’t play violin or write musical notation for it. I hope time is not running out for me to cure those shortcomings in the future (note my other milestone), but it’s not likely I will. I don’t usually stand up for philistinism, but I did indeed try transcribing one of my pop songs once, and it took almost two hours to get through the first verse. Considering that I’ve put out more than 16 hours of music arranged for multiple instruments, you might forgive me for not pursuing a huge musical notation project in the immediate future. I gather some people think you’re not a real composer unless you can write it down. I appreciate those who can, but no, it’s not more important than the act of simply making art by any means necessary.

Infinity Boy came about mostly because I was frustrated in my attempts to create a jazz album (who do you have to blow to rent a saxophone in this town nowadays?) With extra nervous energy and time on the train, I start putting out my classical appreciation albums. Anyway, I hope you like it, and if not, maybe just give it a listen as a way of saying happy birthday to me. As my grandparents might say, I sure am getting tall.

As usual, the piece was written, arranged, produced and performed by yours truly in Apple’s GarageBand for iPhone. The work was completed between August and November 2019 in my home studio. All performances are on keyboard.

A sample:

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From Sour To CinnamonMy 21st album, From Sour to Cinnamon, is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, CD Baby, and other places where music is (still) sold. As I’ve written previously, it’s an album of pop songs with some dark undertones.

The album art was provided by my 8-year-old son Xander.

While the last Salon de la Guerre album displayed my recent obsession with country music, this album is all pop, and most of it was generated with keyboards in Garage Band (though I play guitar on the  the song “A Kid’s Inside,” an ode to youth and play and silliness and joy).

Again, all songs written, performed and produced by yours truly.

Enjoy one of the latest tracks here:

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Tangled in the sun, the bird he flew
Came back, didn’t say what he knew
Came back with a song he knew only as a scream
Came back in a life he knew only as a dream

Wax in my ears, the siren quakes the sea
I don’t know what the sirens sing to me
Basaltic rock you wake dead or as a king
When you hear the sirens sing
Stuffed my ears with the wax from the bees
I don’t know what the Sirens sing

I ate a bird, something that flew
I wondered if it he knew he was through
I fly when I dream and that means I fly
People think they can’t, I don’t know why
Tangled in the sun the bird he flew
Came back didn’t say what he knew

Wax in my ears the siren quakes the sea
I don’t know what the sirens sang to me
Basaltic rock you wake dead or as a king
When you hear the sirens sing
Stuffed out ears with the wax from the bees
I don’t know what the Sirens sang to me

(Lyrics to the song “The Sirens,” now available on the Salon de la Guerre album From Sour To Cinnamon, copyright 2019.)

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We bounce on the Siberian ground
The snow absorbs the laughing sound
Your breath has shards and your voice is weak
And when the soil breaks, its gas will speak

Of the sometimes lips of Siberian birds
On their grocery rounds, speak in minor thirds
They too act with a unitasking brain
The gas on which they float is sane

Find its idiom in childish lungs
Stentorian notes and Götterdämmerung
Mingles and cocktails with poisons in the air
And the masses of people who once lived there

Gas gives its spirit, its spirit released
Its valediction, the ocean its priest
And when its moment of flower has ceased
The human hole seeks to close in peace

Find its idiom in childish lungs
Stentorian notes and Götterdämmerung
Mingles and cocktails with poisons in the air
And masses of people who once lived there

And it got too hot for us to live there
But our letters remain, its past we share
The flowers open, the flowers stare.

(Lyrics to “Methane Moth,” from the new Salon de la Guerre album From Sour to Cinnamon.)

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The latest Salon de la Guerre album drops this week. It’s called From Sour To Cinnamon, and it’s a slate of big candy-like pop songs with a dark center. Check out this track from the album, set to release Monday.

All the wrongs on this album were made by yours truly, including music, lyrics and production.

“Amphibious Grandkids”
By Eric Randolph Rasmussen
Copyright 2019

Take them to the aquarium
Take them to the Grand Canyon
Set your grandkids loose to swim
While you sit at look at ’em.

The froggy skin and the set of gills
You never knew we’d have them
But these fish were spawned from your loins
You’d never know to look at them

Your grandchild no longer walks the earth
Or plays his video game

A patronymic and a set of fins
And the memory of land
Your legacy in sedimentary rock
Your fossil of vestigial hands
Cause you bequeathed your sons a water world
While you drove your car around

Your grandchild no longer walks the earth
Or plays his video game
Now he plays with a set of flippers
But still has your name

A patronymic and a set of fins
And the memory of land
Your legacy in sedimentary rock
Your fossil of vestigial hands

Cause you bequeathed your sons a water world
While you drove your car around
Once you thought you’d take Manhattan
Now it’s all Long Island Sound

I don’t believe that he glitch-killed me
It was crazy enough to kill you
Amphibious grandkids swim away
Too hungry to be mad at you

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Last week, I sent my 300th song to the U.S. Copyright Office.

Of course, a few of those hundreds of songs are repeats and reprises from my two classical albums, but if you add in the smattering of songs I’ve thrown away, it’s a wash, and 300 is a good official number. And of course, I have proof of this on my Bandcamp page, if anybody wants to fact-check me. Go! Count them! (The last 10 are going up within a week or two.)

I have a new milestone in a couple of months that also has a zero in it. That one I have less control over.

And that’s led me to a message for older people out there: I wrote more than two-thirds of this music in the last three years, a period of explosive growth for me as a songwriter, and during what people would call middle age. In my 20s, I wrote only a few dozen songs, and perhaps doubled that number in my 30s. But since 2016, at which time I was well into my 40s, I’ve made 14 albums, writing music everywhere–on the train, on the plane, on the treadmill, on the couch. I even tried to stop for months at a time while I worked on fiction, but it got to where I was writing songs unconsciously just walking around the store.

You might sniff and say it’s just the robot software doing it all. I have been, after all, writing stuff in GarangeBand–on my phone–and a lot of my work involves tape loops and buttons. But that’s the wrong conclusion. My guitar playing, both in speed and nuance, got three times better in 2016. And I suddenly started playing piano with no training in 2018. The iPhone is helping me, but it’s not writing the music or arranging it.

How have I become so prolific later in life? I don’t know. I have no idea why it all suddenly came to me. It’s been said and demonstrated to me over and over that we’re all supposed to lose inspiration and start sucking at art, and especially uptempo music, when we get older. We lose our muse. We get complacent. We resist the new ideas; our minds are less malleable, less playful, less able to assimilate new truths and discoveries and all else that makes you a great artist. That’s the conventional wisdom.

It’s also a crock of shit. Your ability to discover new talent within yourself has no age limit. Your style has no age limit. The idea of your imminent deterioration as you age is largely a mental and social construct–not unlike the fabrication that high school was the best times of our lives. Both ideas, we ought to suspect, have more to do with other people’s pitch to sell us stuff, and less to do with essential truths.

So this is something new I hope I could offer, besides my music itself: I can tell you unequivocally that I found an ocean of inspiration in my 40s, that these have easily been my peak years as an artist, peaks I hope will be eclipsed in my 50s.

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Another song from my album Air Is a Public Good.
Music and lyrics by Eric Randolph Rasmussen.

“Under the Wing”

The devil now I know walks among us
The devil has a condo on Lake Tahoe

I would never know the path
That bell I can’t unring
And the devil had me under his wing

I was selling real estate
To a couple from Sulphur Springs
And the devil had me under his wing

They wanted more than a town house
They wanted to share their lonely love
With me

And now I know the darkness
And now I know the need
And the devil had me under his wing

They wanted to use my body
And prey on my clean living
And the devil had me under his wing

God you can’t sell real estate in this
Sinful town
Heaven don’t have a toilet for fallen angels like me

They wanted to use my body
And prey on my clean living
And the devil had me under his wing

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