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Posts Tagged ‘Harry Partch’

Bring an Open Mind to a Broken Heart

Salon de la Guerre’s 25th album, Bring An Open Mind to a Broken Heart, is now available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and other platforms where music is still sold.

The project started as an experiment–to see if I could use country music instruments to play microtonal music. In other words, I wanted to meld Gram Parsons and Harry Partch. I even bought a lap steel guitar to try out my hypothesis that something new and wonderful might result.

As I progressed, I learned a couple of things: One, instruments associated with country music such as the banjo and lap steel guitar can hurt your ears if sampled and played in rapid succession. And then I was reminded of a golden rule of music, which is that you shouldn’t let a bunch of fuzzy sound effects get in the way of a good song.

The result is an album of arty country experiments sitting jeek by chowl with a number of more conventional country numbers and lap steel performances. It’s not exactly what I’d intended, but I still think a lot of it came out sounding fresh and new. I hope you agree.

As always, the album was composed, produced, arranged and performed by yours truly. That’s me playing the lap steel guitar, banjo, acoustic guitar and keyboard, while Apple GarageBand’s software provides string, bass and drum backup.

The cover art work was created by my longtime friend Corey B. Sanders.

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Golem Vs. DuendeThe 23rd album by Salon de la Guerre is now available in the racks of the virtual music stores of the world.

Golem Vs. Duende is my attempt to make a collage of music from environmental sounds. It’s also my attempt to show my appreciation for the microtonal music of Harry Partch while acknowledging that his music was precisely notated, and mine is not. In fact, my samples of found sounds–from my house, from wooden fences, from the New York City subway–are spontaneously created and probably more resemble the minimalism of John Cage, whom Partch hated. They were, after all, pursuing two completely different approaches. Who wants to be lumped together with their aesthetic enemies?

Also, I have not abandoned the 12-tone chromatic scale in my music, and I’d shudder to think of what Partch himself might make of me citing him as an influence. He’d probably call me a hapless poseur and beat me senseless with one of his homemade instruments.

So this new work is modernist classical–and it’s not. I hope it’s challenging but also fun. I hope it has depth but is not boring. I hope it informs the rock and pop and country albums I plan to keep making in the future. While I wish Salon de la Guerre had more listeners (and think a lot of you who aren’t hearing my more radio-friendly songs are missing out), I’m also happy to have the kind of obscurity that allows me to do whatever the hell I want with music for the time being. Because the weird stuff helps me make breakthroughs with the rocking stuff. I am currently on the same page with my small group of listeners in at least one respect: We have no expectations.

You can find Golem Vs. Duende on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube and Bandcamp. Here’s a sample:

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