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Archives: Daniel Lanois



  • 1989 Acadie – ***** (classic)
  • 1993 For the Beauty of Wynona – **** (rough brilliance)
  • 1996 Sling Blade (soundtrack) – ** 1/2 (a little letdown)
  • 2003 Shine – ***** (overseen treasure)
  • 2004 Rockets – ** (has its moments)
  • 2005 Belladonna – **** 1/2 – (excellent ambient noir)
  • 2007 Here Is What Is – ****1/2 (firing on all cylinders)
  • 2008 The Omni Series: Steel etc.  (dan’s music for films) – *** (good)
  • 2014 Flesh and Machine – **** 1/2 (a brilliant return to form, darkness prevails!)
  • 2016 Goodbye To Language – ****1/2 (his most disturbing instrumental album, his pedall steel guitar once called his church in a suitcase is now handling with ghosts and apparitions, everything’s broken apart, memory work of a still hungry mind)


The name of Daniel Lanois is mainly quoted as the producer of some of the good, in parts great albums of Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris („Wreckin‘ Ball“), Willie Nelson („Teatro“), Peter Gabriel, U2, Jon Hassell, The Neville Brothers („Yellow Moon“) et al. In fact, after a long working period in the hinterland of Hamilton, Ontario, his encounter with Brian Eno had been a „game-changer“, as Brian opened him some decent doors into the rock’n’roll circus. More than that, Lanois contributed to some legendary, some nearly forgotten gems of ambient music’s history. The classics: Apollo, Plateaux of Mirror, The Pearl. The buried treasures: Voices (by Roger Eno), Hybrid (by Michael Brook). I always like returning to his solo albums, and, apart from his ways of treating guitars and creating atmospheres, I do love his hoarse, grey, passionate, reluctant voice. I still wait for his Cajun-goes-Gospel-album! (me)




Zunächst wusste ich nicht recht, was ich aus dieser Platte machen sollte. Seit ein paar Tagen läuft sie nun aber bei mir, und mit jedem Hören gefällt sie mir besser. Dabei bieten Lanois und Deluca nichts, was man seit Apollo, Belladonna oder dem „Steel“-Part der Omni-Trilogie noch nie gehört hätte.

In zwölf kurzen Stücken spielen Delucas Lap Steel und Lanois‘ Pedal Steel („my little church in a suitcase“, wie er das Ding in seiner Autobiographie nennt) eigentlich keine Melodien, sondern fließen in immer neuen Kombinationen zu ständig wechselnden Harmonien zusammen. Das Ganze läuft durch ein offensichtlich gut bestücktes Effekte-Rack, das seinen vollen Leistungsumfang zeigen darf. Das Ergebnis ist eine manchmal powervolle, manchmal seltsam inoffensive, latent psychedelische, gelegentlich meditative instrumentale Klanglandschaft, die trotz einer gewissen Gleichförmigkeit nicht langweilig wird und niemals ins New-age-ige abgleitet. Voraussetzung ist allerdings, dass eine Lautstärke deutlich über normalem Zimmerlevel gewährleistet ist und eine Wiedergabeanlage vorhanden ist, die mit den gelegentlichen heftigen Kellerbässen nicht überfordert ist. Erst dann nämlich kommt der spezifische Sound, den Lanois zu zaubern versteht, zu voller Geltung.

Goodbye to Language sollte es in meine Top 10 des Jahres 2016 schaffen.

2015 10 Sep

Behind The Glass

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Third try


The machinen and the flesh is one. Getting on the ground, becoming dust. Allowing your selves to be spread all over. There is no going back. There is no going on. No beat is the next step. No step is the next beat. Let the beat go. Trust just being a sound. Letting the borders blend and break like acid or the Berlin wall as a memory you cant remember.


Second try


My wishes: more of a feeling of I don`t know who is making what sound. More blending into one. Less hiarchy. Less feeling of the two providing the bottom and the one being the top. Brian Blade is one of my favorite drummers. More unidentified instruments – like a Kazorta or a Pilmaki – treated with the Stckhs machine and some Kollipa buttons, the pink and blue ones. And some subsonic and burning sprectralghosts – both the elephantronic and dolphinic machines based on the human snake oil flesh. How will these recordings affect his next works? Is this a teaser for 35 extended mixes? What drugs goes better with this experience? What religion will enrichen your beliefs? What images will change you forever?


First try


Another shot of Daniel Lanois. Makes me wonder how his next recordings will sound. Is flesh and machine just a teaser for 35 extended mixes? How will this experience shape his future recordings for other people? Finding myself wishing that he would play with other people also on various electronics. Basically Brian Blade and and Jim Wilson are comping him – while he playing on top on top on top. Would be interesting if he worked with their sounds as well. I would like less hiarchy. More of that feeling you dont know who is doing who and what.

Listen to download download download here

“ … We were in a hotel. A bit worn down. A memory of better days.


Where I don’t know, perhaps it was in Sylt? I haven`t been there yet so I don’t know.


I recognized Michael of course and there were other people (whom I had not yet met, but I understood they were the other Manafonistas – perhaps Jochen, Gregor, Martina or Marcus – there were no individual identities that I could separate from each other, just an identity as a group).


We (perhaps Uwe, Wolfram, or Lajla – again there were no individuals – just shadows bleeding into each other) were sitting around a big table in a room with very a strong light. White and strong.


The food was being served – cut into small cubes. There were no cutlery – no knives or forks. And nobody seemed to get the idea that it was possible to eat without knives and forks.


We (or maybe Henning or Jan or Ian – or rather a creature consisting of us as if we were one) started looking everywhere, but the only cutlery we found had been dipped in paint or so broken that we couldn’t use it.


Finally we returned to the table to discover that the food was gone) …“

As I woke up this morning the dream still lingered in me. And it is still lingers on, and I have the feeling having met you – the other Manafonistas – already.


What it means that we could not eat our food (cut in small cubes) without cutlery or that we didn`t find anything suitable when we were looking for it I don’t know, neither that the plates with our food were gone when we were back from our search.


I usually do not remember my dreams so clearly, and also during this dream I remember the feeling of knowing that I am dreaming. I feel I dream so much with my eyes open, that I prefer to not use my dreams as source of creation, whether it is with sounds or images or words.


As I am writing right now – the dream mixes with the sounds of Daniel Lanois Flesh and machine – that I have played quite a lot the last days. Or have I? Is it rather that it is a record that was already playing inside me, and I have just needed someone to record it for me to recognize it? And it happened to pass thru Daniel? Flesh and Machine does feel like home, in a quite unexpected way.


Flesh and Machine grows on repeated listening, and also when i am just trying to remember the sounds (without playing it, like just before going to sleep or just after waking up) and it has a lot of the same effect on me, as visualizing Stalker by Tarkovskij or the playing of Coltrane, whose record Live at the Temple University has been equally a revelation this week.


But that is another dream waiting to dream me.



Another drone world. In parts. Daniel Lanois goes wild. With the volume turned low. Is „Drone Music“ a new, rediscovered, or „never-really-off-the-scene“-topic of some creative upheaval anno 2014? Think of Scott Walker, Swans, „Lumen Drones“ – and (in historic perspective) the reissue of „The Church of Anthrax“, this „hard-core-primitive-minimalism“ of John Cale and Terry Riley (1971). The man from Ontario is diving deep into his non-Canadian roots and textures – on a work without songs and singing. And now the next surprise: this record is not really a close relative to the „golden age“ of Mr. Lanois‘ „ambient classics“ he had created with Brian Eno in the Grand Avenue Studios in his old home in Hamilton (a long, long time ago). Only the track „Space Love“ may draw some parallels to the „Apollo“ dreamsphere with his pedal steel guitar singing softly, the instrument he loves to call „the church in my suitcase“. And if there is one other track that might be a heartfelt greeting to his old „compadre of strangeness“, it’s the haunted softness of „Iceland“. On nearly all the other compositions we seem to drift into a strange territory in the back of the artist’s mind. It may all appear like the ideal soundtrack for a town called Lonesome, where the streets have no names. The man who has produced U2, Peter Gabriel and other candidates for this nostalgia-driven „hall of fame“, keeps his most rewarding things for himself – and for the happy few who keep company. „Flesh & Machine“ is quite an unsafe journey. Do yourself a favour and don’t believe in campfires anymore! 

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