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20 août 2007

Inside the mind of Daniel Lanois

New film reveals the mental legwork behind Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan and U2 collaborations.

Uber-producer Daniel Lanois' new film, "Here Is What Is," is an impressionist dissection of his creative process as a producer, composer and songwriter. The film reveals the mental legwork behind his collaborations with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan and U2.

"My friend said that porn ruined sexuality, because sexuality is all about mystery and imagination," Lanois said. "I'm trying to reintroduce those values from a time before mass communication caused people to be more interested in an artist's 'crib' than the actual record."

The film, which premieres at the Toronto Film Festival in September, follows Lanois on trips to Morocco (where he was recording with Eno and U2) and Shreveport, La. (with ace session drummer Brian Blade), and captures a rare and intimate piano performance from Garth Hudson. "Here Is What Is" is less a traditional documentary than a dreamy trip through Lanois' head.

Such a film could have been an exercise in navel-gazing, but in a music culture veering ever more toward instant gratification, Lanois believes that art takes commitment, and "Here Is" is proof of that.

"I wanted to celebrate dedication to one's craft," Lanois said. "That's not a lighthearted matter. The studio's not just a piece of documentation equipment. You only get out of it what you put into it."

By August Brown, Los Angels Times Staff Writer, August 16, 2007

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