Daniel Lanois
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso))
Acadie (1989), 7/10
For The Beauty Of Wynona (1993), 6.5/10
Shine (2003), 4/10
Belladonna (2005), 6/10
Here Is What Is (2008), 5/10
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(Translated by Christine Koch)

Daniel Lanois, originally from Quebec, but an emigré to New Orleans, became a successful producer in the 1980's (particularly for U2).

Bringing to fruition twenty years of experience and an ability to refine sound to unreal and surreal levels, Lanois recorded his first solo album, Acadie (Opal, 1989). His sophisticated vignettes attempt a fusion of ambient and rock music. Lanois carried out a sophisticated manipulation of popular music: reconstructing "roots-rock" from an "ambient" perspective (that is, impressionist, atmospheric, stratified).
The "ambient" ballads on the album draw their inspiration from multiple sources: country(Still Water), zydeco (Jolie Louise), honky-tonk (Under A Stormy Sky), reggae (Silium's Hill) and psychedelic (Where The Hawkwind Kills), echoing infinite artists, from U2 to Buddy Holly, from Donovan to Bob Dylan. But each becomes an ethereal and intense digression into the concept of song, in which even the smallest detail has been studied purposefully. Intrinisically cajun, this work does not renounce, unlike that of Eno, the expression of the artist's personality.

Four years later, Lanois made another effort with For The Beauty Of Wynona (Warner Bros., 1993). From the swamp rock of Messenger to the aggressive Lotta Love To Give his style showed less calligraphy and more sincerity. The disc's best moments probably lie in the moments of Leonard Cohen-esque melancholy, Death Of A Train and Rocky World. Sleeping In The Devil's Bed and Lotta Love To Give are the songs of a more traditional folk singer. For The Beauty Of Wynona and Waiting, however, reflect the influence of U2. Altogether, the disc presents a rather different auteur: where the first disc was cold and artificial (an album of "sound" more than songs), this album is warm and personal.

Daniel Lanois, originario del Quebec, ma emigrato a New Orleans nel 1988, è diventato negli anni '80 un produttore di successo (in particolare per gli U2).

Mettendo a frutto vent'anni di esperienza e l'abilità di raffinare il sound a livelli irreali e surreali, Lanois registrò il suo primo album solista, Acadie (Opal, 1989). Le sue sofisticate vignette armoniche sembrano voler fondere musica ambientale e musica rock. In quell'opera Lanois aveva anche tentato un'operazione sofisticatamente colta di manipolazione della musica popolare: ricostruire il "roots-rock" da una prospettiva "ambientale" (cioè impressionista, atmosferica, astratta).
Le ballate "ambientali" del disco traggono ispirazione da molteplici fonti: il country (Still Water), lo zydeco (Jolie Louise), l'honky-tonk (Under A Stormy Sky), il raga (Silium's Hill) e la psichedelia (Where The Hawkwind Kills), riecheggiando infiniti musicisti, dagli U2 a Buddy Holly, da Donovan a Bob Dylan. Ma ciascuna diventa un'eterea ed intensa divagazione sul concetto di canzone, in cui anche il minimo dettaglio è stato studiato ad arte. Intrisa di cultura cajun, quest'opera non rinuncia, a differenza di quelle di Eno, ad esprimere la personalità del musicista.

Quattro anni dopo Lanois ci ha riprovato con For The Beauty Of Wynona (Warner Bros., 1993). Dallo swamp-rock di Messenger all'aggressiva Lotta Love To Give il suo stile si è fatto meno calligrafico e più sincero. Il meglio del disco si trova probabilmente nei momenti di malinconia alla Leonard Cohen, Death Of A Train e Rocky World. Sleeping In The Devil's Bed and Lotta Love To Give sono canzoni da folksinger ancor più tradizionale. For The Beauty Of Wynona e Waiting hanno invece qualcosa degli U2. Il disco presenta insomma un autore completamente diverso: laddove il primo disco era glaciale e artificiale (un disco di "suoni" più che di canzoni), questo è un disco caldo e personale.

Shine (Anti, 2003) is a weak album that relies on floating clusters of angelic sounds to rescue an uninspired batch of generic soul-jazz ballads. The ethereal duet with Emmylou Harris, I Love You is typical of the thin, superficial music of Lanois. At best, his songs resemble eastern spiritual meditations (Slow Giving, Fire, Falling At Your Feet). His talent is best represented by the ghostly instrumentals (Transmitter, Matador, Space Kay, JJ Leaves La) but Lanois is still afraid (or incapable) of expanding on their ideas.

Lanois' electronic world folk music project was better represented by the instrumental Belladonna (2005).

It is a bad sign that the best song on Here Is What Is (2008) is Where Will I Be (originally recorded by Emmylou Harris in 1995).

(Translation by/Tradotto da Davide Carrozza)

Shine (Anti, 2003) is a weak album that relies on floating clusters of angelic sounds to rescue an uninspired batch of generic soul-jazz ballads. The ethereal duet with Emmylou Harris, I Love You is typical of the thin, superficial music of Lanois. At best, his songs resemble eastern spiritual meditations (Slow Giving, Fire, Falling At Your Feet). His talent is best represented by the ghostly instrumentals (Transmitter, Matador, Space Kay, JJ Leaves La) but Lanois is still afraid (or incapable) of expanding on their ideas.

Lanois' electronic world folk music project was better represented by the instrumental Belladonna (2005).

It is a bad sign that the best song on Here Is What Is (2008) is Where Will I Be (originally recorded by Emmylou Harris in 1995).

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