Daniel Lanois Ambient genre master and renowned producer/engineer is releasing his 6th studio album “Flesh and Machine” on October 28. Lanois, is probably best known in the musical mainstream for being the Yin to Brian Eno’s Yang. The two have produced some of U2’s greatest works. Lanois and Eno have worked with U2 since “The Unforgettable Fire” days on through “Joshua Tree”, “All that You Can’t Leave” Behind, and finally “No Line on the Horizon”. Eno and Lanois also worked together on Eno’s ambient recordings, “Ambient 4: On Land” in 82’ and “Apollo Atmosphere: Soundtracks” in 83’. Lanois is Eno’s foremost protégé whose famed production style mirrors his solo work.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and find Lanois having produced some of the greats, Dylan, Gabriel, Emmylou Harris, and Neil Young, Lanois has earned from The Rolling Stone the title of ” the most important record producer to emerge out of the Eighties.” Lanois has released over the last two decades five mostly ambient recordings. His last, “Here is What it is” in 2011 was hailed by critics and included a documentary. The release fleshed out Lanois amazing musical talents both at the mixing desk and in the studio performing.
On ‘Flesh and Machine” Lanois spent countless hours processing an array of source sounds, including steel electric guitar, piano, and human voice to create the sound palette utilized in “Flesh and Machine”. With this work Lanois examines the question of what sounds are man made “flesh”, and what are computer created by programming”machine” and in combination what they can accomplish. The result is an album that seems to sweep across the world into sonic vistas of desert, ocean, forest, and outer space. He creates these aural murals which are both relaxing and cerebral. Lanois is planning with this release to perform the music in front of live audiences and essentially bring the studio to the stage. He is also promoting “Flesh and Machine” in conjunction with the Modern School Of Film, doing both moviemaking and sonic design to create “Shorts” and videos. He will be working with both well know names in film and looking to promote undiscovered filmmakers. This kind of collaboration is what drives Lanois’ creativity. He sees it as another step in promoting creativity across the arts spectrum much like his prior release.
“Flesh and Machine”, Much like Eno’s enthralling album “High Life” released earlier this year, is an ambient recording both engaging and elegant. The entire album is an outstanding sophisticated collection of music. The highlights are the hypnotic ‘Sioux Lookout’ containing driving beats that underpin this soulful tune. This is Lanois at his mixing engineer best. ‘Space Love’ with its heart monitor pulse track conveys a song that has this stratospheric aural vibe. The song seems just barely tethered to the world as the listener floats above the world in space. Lanois’ elegant steel guitar is showcased in this song. ‘Iceland’ is another must listen track, with its icy soundscape. ‘Aquatic’ and ‘Forest City’ both convey the majesty and calm of those landscapes translated into sound.
Lanois ever the evocative artist draws more emotion from an ambient soundscape that many artists working in this genre. This is an effortless listen which for many is the purpose of Ambient music. Lanois is an imaginative musician, engineer and producer who never puts a foot wrong on this flawless gem. Ambient music may not be for everyone but if you want to check out the genre, this release is an excellent gateway album. Mr. Lanois latest offering comes in at a solid 7/10.