Mix Six: “Daniel Lanois’ World”

Written by Mix Six, Music

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In general, people who know Daniel Lanois know him from the musical acts he’s produced: U2, Robbie Robertson, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, and Emmylou Harris, just to name a few.  His partner in crime, Brian Eno, also shares in many of his production credits, and, truth be told, sometime it’s tough to know how these two split up the work.  Eno’s eggheadish tendencies, while brilliant at times, seem to be tempered by Lanois’ more rootsy approach to music.  The combination has resulted in some interesting and engaging albums by the performers above, but what about Lanois’ own music?  Well, that’s what this mix is about — so let’s get started, shall we?


“Sleeping in the Devil’s Bed,” Daniel Lanois (download)

In a way, I’m cheating by including this song as separate from the album The Beauty of Wynona.  “Sleeping in the Devil’s Bed” first appeared on the Until the End of the World soundtrack, and a shorter version was included on The Beauty of Wynona.  I have both iterations now (thanks to Scott Malchus), but I prefer this one — mostly because I first heard the song on this soundtrack.  Lanois’ vocal style varies from album to album, but on this song it’s clear that he was influenced by Bob Dylan when he worked with Dylan on Oh Mercy.


“Luna Samba,” Daniel Lanois (download)

Technically this is a soundtrack, too — but it’s the soundtrack to a documentary about Lanois’ approach to making music.  There are some snippets from the documentary where he and Brian Eno talk about music and, at time, some oblique stuff, but I found this instrumental really amazing — mostly because of the wonderful drum work by Brian Blade.

“Lotta Love to Give,” Daniel Lanois (download)

This mix came about because Scott Malchus suggested a mix of acts Lanois produced.  Then I suggested we go with an “All Lanois” mix, and then he suggested this tune. It’s certainly more upbeat than most of his work, and that’s pretty much the case with this entire album.  Much of Lanois’ work can lapse into heavy atmospherics, but this album balances strong songwriting with tastefully placed studio tricks that don’t take anything away from the strengths of songs.

“Still Water,” Daniel Lanois (download)

This was the second album I purchased by Lanois, and it contains this quiet, powerful and beautiful song, which I play quite often.  Lanois has released an expanded edition of Acadie, but I haven’t had a chance to hear the new additions to the track list.  If you have, let me know if it’s worth getting.  Sometimes there are reasons why songs are left off of albums. Other times, you wonder why they didn’t make the initial cut.


“Frozen,” Daniel Lanois
(download)

This all-instrumental CD was the first album I purchased by Daniel Lanois – and I gotta say, I wasn’t blown away by what I heard.  Well, I should amend that to say that it took time for the songs to grow on me, and this one in particular has really grown on me.  I love the combination of disparate instruments he uses to create a cohesive sound.  Lately, Lanois has been using a pedal steel in a lot of his songs (as he does on this here), and when combined with bass and drums that have a more electronic sound, the result is quite appealing.  Plus, I’m sucker for a fusion of styles, so he pretty much hooked me with this song.

“Power of One,” Daniel Lanois (download)

Probably my least favorite album in my Lanois collection. However, this song is just intrigues me because, for some reason, his vocals are recorded in such a way that there’s clipping — or at least enough distortion to suggest that “blown speaker” effect. Plus, the music has a wonderful jazz quality to it — probably owing in part to Darryl Johnson on bass and Brian Blade on drums.