Daniel Lanois: Goodbye to Language (ANTI-) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 1st, 2020  

Daniel Lanois

Goodbye to Language


Nov 03, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

You likely know his name from production work on albums by mega-artists including U2, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, and Willie Nelson. You might also know him from his spacious soundscapes with Brian Eno. But did you know Daniel Lanois is also one helluva pedal steel player? I didn't.

While his last album Flesh and Machine used the instrument as the foundation for many of the tracks, it was a decidedly more rhythmic affair using drums and electronic manipulations to drive the music. On Goodbye to Language, Lanois goes "full steel," collaborating with lap steel player Rocco DeLuca. The two became acquainted in the '00s when Lanois worked on Rocco DeLuca and the Burden's album Mercy and have since frequently performed together.

As you probably suspect, this is not a down-home, pickin' and groovin' affair. Rather, Lanois captures and distills the two instruments into something else entirely. Lacking a percussive pulse, spacious songs like "Time On" and "Later That Night" become impressionistic collages that dramatically rise and fall. Lanois refers to it as "soul music" and it's deeply thoughtful music, in a placid way.

While pedal and lap steel can certainly be distinguished on the recording, their sounds are a means to an end, sonically manipulated into ethereal and atmospheric sounds. A stripped down album, Lanois' production is pristine and the contoured soundscapes here should be digested as a whole, rather than consumed as individual tracks. With music that speaks from the heart, who needs words? (www.daniellanois.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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