Post-Punk artist Daniel Ouellette has just unveiled his new full-length LP, El Salon (A Happy Home Is A Haunted Home).
El Salon is a post-punk, synth-pop, new wave concept album that sings of the pleasures and difficulties of life within a haunted house. The album is also multi-lingual. Daniel will sing to you in Spanish about a werewolf, in English about a Ouija board, in Portuguese about a haunted house and in French about bats at Christmas time.
The title of the album, El Salón has multiple meanings. In Spanish it can reference a classroom, an art studio, a living room and of course, a salon. Daniel Ouellette says, “The best place I have learned to speak is in living rooms with loved ones who speak Spanish and this the title is in honor of my mates, my loved ones to whom I speak Spanish.”
“Duérmete (una noche lupina)” – Daniel Ouellette
The album’s subtitle pulls the concept of the album together. Should our protagonist buy a house that may be haunted? Each song tells a tale of joy or horror; what a home can be. Maybe some of us never want to leave our homes and others need to run. Or should we dance around our living room perhaps like a specter?
About the style and process of the album…
“The musical style that I wanted was a bit of a soft, warm synthpop approach. The first song comes in lyrically and musically right at you, but from there I was wanting to entice with softer tones and warmer singing than perhaps in some past recordings.
Almost of these songs were written by recording the percussion patterns and vocals and then adding the synth/keyboard parts after. This is a very back to haunted home for me because I had been working with musical instruments like strings, guitar, bass, accordion, etc. I wanted the beauty of simplicity.”
– Daniel Ouellette
Daniel Ouellette – originally from Massachusetts, now residing in Maryland) delivers an experiential tour de force that fuses the musical traditions that incorporate an eclectic mélange of music, projected visuals, and props. His high-energy shows blend playful performance art with true musical talent in an engaging “you had to be there” style.
Whether performing solo or with his musical acts the Shobijin and The Countess Zaleska (with Deirdre McClaren) across the U.S., Canada, and Spain, Daniel delights audiences as a chanteur in a multilingual enchantment of interactive energy that draws from such styles as new wave, techno-pop, world music, and art pop. He may sing to you in Spanish about a werewolf or in English about a Ouija board; perhaps in Portuguese about a haunted house or croon about bats at Christmastime in French!
He is an eleven-time winner of the Elephant Talk Indie Music magazine music awards, Atlantic City, NJ; named in top 10 best of the year several times from The Noise – Rock Around Boston, Boston, MA and honored with a halo for best in year from The Valley Advocate, Northampton, MA. He’s been featured in stories and on podcasts by Metronome magazine, Boston, MA, Voyage Baltimore magazine, Hello From Earth podcast, MA and Stagecraft ft. Don Zientara and Alex Vidales podcast, DC, to name a few places to have found him.
Daniel’s latest release El salón (A Happy Home is a Haunted Home) will be released on July 7, 2022 on Meanie Jeannie Records. It features a divine list of talented guests: Jenny Rae Mettee on synths and vocals from Baltimore’s Fun Never Starts, Jason Mendleson from Virginia on synths and Pam Ant from Burlington, VT with vocals. Daniel again works with the multi-talented Elizabeth Lorrey and Peter Linnane (Patch Hill Audio) on engineering, mixing, and mastering. Grab a copy! Come to a show! Let’s dance and have a Halloween party anytime!”
Review – Daniel Ouellette – El Salon (A Happy Home Is A Haunted Home)
Musical art, or musical theatre, I would describe “El Salon” by Daniel Ouellette. The album is something completely different from what you usually hear. I had to listen first, but then I was really excited.
Catchy beats and light synthesizers initiate the album with “Velvet Divan.” The song is well heard and shows with the impressive voice of Daniel, which is surrounded by a peculiar Hall, in which direction the upcoming songs will go. One finds oneself unwillingly in the entrance hall of an old house. One that definitely offers potential for a decent spoof.
In French we go to the next chapter. “Les Chauves – Souris à Noel” seems to be a Christmas wish accompanied by light chimes, which sounds from the office of Frankenstein on Christmas Eve. Daniel’s voice comes out very well together with the horn-like synthies.
“A Planchchette” continues the Reigen. Minimal use of rhythm-giving music frames the sung dialogue between the haunting spirit and the inhabitant of the haunted house. Echoing voices underline the whole thing. It is like a chapter of an audiobook and makes you curious as to how to proceed.
Ping-pong sounds like accompanying an old computer game “The Kitchen Witch Who stayed in the Living Room to Fold the Laundry.” The song has a funny character. Actually, the landlord just wants an undisturbed quiet afternoon. He wants to fly away to get out of the living room. The piece is zaggy composed and it is fun to hear it.
“Duérmete” is almost happy with its bell play and the slightly faster drums. The text is loosely read and makes a carefree impression. Unfortunately, I can’t understand him because I don’t speak Spanish. Nevertheless, I like the song.
Sad and gloomy, “Blueheart Credenza” tells of loss and hope and ends the spoof. Drums and dull string sounds give the song a really dark mood and bring the story around the ghosts in Frankenstein’s house to a worthy end.
“El Salon” is an extremely unusual but very interesting album that consistently tells a touching story from beginning to end. Personally, I love such set stories in which a song is like a chapter. The pieces themselves are relatively short, but contain everything it takes to make you want to keep hearing.
written by Antje Heine