Rasmus Rasmussen, keyboardist for the Danish music titans Causa Sui, likes to put out lush, synth-driven compositions when he’s not melting minds with his psych-rock brethren. Those songs are released under the name Aerosol. These songs are understated, quietly mesmerizing, and as engulfing as a tidal wave of analog circuitry and simple electronic beats. Each release has gotten increasingly more dense and opaque. Think of a cross between Ulrich Schnauss, Boards of Canada, and even Cluster, all rolled into a minimal electro bath. That’s a good starting point when entering the hazy world of Aerosol.
With his newest release as Aerosol, simply titled Leave, Rasmussen has simplified his sound even more, but this music is anything but simple. Leave is less rhythm and more about texture. It opens the door to truly getting lost in his sonic wilderness. This record is a complex, lush listening experience.
So three out of the four members of Causa Sui put out solo records that are filled with analog synth buzzing and lush sound odysseys. Does that mean something? Is Denmark the epicenter of synthesizer love? Does Moog have a fortress hidden under the terra firma of Copenhagen? I don’t know. I can’t answer any of those questions with a resounding yes or no. What I can say is that these guys know how to man a keyboard, and Rasmus is a master at creating lush soundscapes you can get lost in.
“Paths” opens Leave with a rhythmic push of electronic air as swaths of of synth blanket our minds. It has its roots firmly planted in Krautrock, yet feels bigger and far more expansive than to be limited to one genre. As the drum beat and chiming lead guitar come in you feel as if you’re riding on some Vangelis-made cloud of orange hues and purple tracers. “Reach” recalls a bit of Computer World-era Kraftwerk, minus the German accents. The guitar touches Rasmussen adds to Aerosol’s songs pulls the compositions from starry space and grounds them a bit. It feels less like a trip through the cosmos and more of a road trip to find oneself right here on earth. “Leave” is a swirl of humming analog circuitry and backwards guitar that feels like arriving at the creation of the universe, or the end of it. Ladies and gentlemen, we are most definitely floating in space.
Rasmus Rasmussen knows how to create mood by layering sound upon sound. Textures and lavish soundscapes help to put the listener in another place and time while entranced within the world of Aerosol. Leave can feel very dense and heady, then the next light and airy. A track like “Possible”, with its nuanced percussion and acoustic guitar, puts you in a brighter headspace filled with blue skies and sunspots. Acoustic piano brings the track even more of an organic vibe. “Exposure” is another more subtle track, with dissonant electric guitar intertwining with spaced-out synth and an electro beat. You don’t quite know what’s coming around the corner, but you know it will be good either way. “Real” ends the album on an ambient note. Synth patches waver in and out, never quite building to any conclusion. It just carries us along for the duration of the track’s nearly 6 minutes.
While Rasmussen’s musical counterparts in Causa Sui like to take their synth wanderings in sometimes more noisier and spacier directions, Aerosol stays more clear-eyed and direct. Even on earlier albums like All That Is Solid Melts Into Air and Airborne, Aerosol’s sound was based more on simple beats and delicate synth lines. A more direct line to emotion. Leave continues that, with a bit more emphasis on texture and mood. It’s a striking collection of music to lose yourself in.