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06 avril 2008

Beauty triumphs throughout Daniel Lanois album

Daniel Lanois - Here Is What Is
(Red Floor Records, 2008)

The new album by Canadian-born Daniel Lanois is a soundtrack to his film of the same name. The documentary is described by Lanois as a "travelogue of his life over the past year." He is on a quest for the "source of art, rather than everything that surrounds it." The film includes appearances by U2, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Sinead O'Connor and Aaron Neville, among others.

In addition to his work as a celebrated composer and performer Lanois is best known as a producer. He has received 10 Grammys and five Junos and was responsible for producing landmark albums including U2's Joshua Tree, Unforgettable Fire, Achtung Baby, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and All That You Can't Leave Behind; Bob Dylan's Oh Mercy and Time Out of Mind; Peter Gabriel's So and Us; Willie Nelson's Teatro; and the soundtrack to Billy Bob Thornton's Slingblade.

The music on Here Is What Is is a collection of startlingly powerful music, including grooves, atmospheres and other soundscapes. Some tracks feature dialogue from the film. Frequent collaborators are gathered together including Brian Eno, Garth Hudson (the Band), and drummer Brian Blade.

This May Be My Last Time is a powerful gospel-infused performance featuring Brian Blade's father and his Zionist Baptist Church in Shreveport, La.

Lovechild features Garth Hudson improvising on piano and Lanois playing his trademark ethereal pedal steel (which he calls his "church in a suitcase").

Sacred and Secular is spine-chilling as Eno, Lanois and Blade engage in a rich musical dialogue.

Other highlights include Joy (with its Hammond B3), Blue Bus and Bells of Oaxaca.

Daniel Lanois is clearly in a league of his own with this music. Beauty triumphs throughout the album, leaving the listener begging for more and running to the store to buy the accompanying DVD.

Posted By David Reed

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