Saturday, February 7, 2009

One: Power of One

Daniel Lanois: Power of One


Better known as the Canadian producer behind such incredible records as Dylan's Time Out of Mind, Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball, and U2's The Joshua Tree, each of which won Grammys in their respective categories, Daniel Lanois on his own is an atmospheric experimentalist songwriter and arranger in the same vein as early co-conspirator Brian Eno, if a bit more melodic.

The multi-instrumentalist Lanois plays mostly guitar, pedal steel and drums, filtering these through a series of pedals and boxes on stage and in the studio to maximize the sound he can produce on his own. The resulting songs on my favorite of his albums, such as 2003 release Shine, from whence this singular cut comes, carry the typical synthetic symptoms of his curious hybrid of New Wave, Folk Rock, and Pop. Dreamy and ever-catchy, if also imperfect and somehow unfinished without the superstar talents he usually employs, these are songs for songwriters, not for the charts, but they go a long way towards explaining the full environments which he has brought to the work of others over the years.

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