449

Daniel Lanois: Belladonna

Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
Daniel Lanois: Belladonna Daniel Lanois is doing something truly different in the world of music. His style doesn't really fit in with any genre that can be found at the local music store. Some may call it cosmic, folk, ambient, rock, spiritual, or soul... but the truth is that it is a combination of all these things. He's been heralded as one of the most brilliant producers around, and many musicians have benefited from the alchemic presence of this studio wizard and sonic explorer.

Belladonna is Lanois' latest solo effort, but unlike Shine (or Rockets), he delivers a full instrumental album. In a way the recording continues the dark experimental streak of its predecessors, and it seems he has taken many of the best elements from his various projects and combined them into an unusual mixture, but the result is emotionally deep, intellectually stimulating, and insistently forward-looking music.

These thirteen immensely moving pieces are full of sounds and atmospheres that make listening to Lanois an imaginative, spiritual, and exciting experience. Many guest musicians drop by to lend their talents on various numbers, but even though it involves highly skilled performers, the accent of Belladonna is devoted to producing moments of stunning aesthetic beauty.

"Two Worlds" sets the tone for much of what will follow, with distorted guitars and atmospherics that come into play to create an organized piece of chaotic noise. By using the studio as an instrument, Lanois manages to produce maximum effects with minimum assets. The sense of dynamics often varies from track to track, but his economical use of silence and the blending of somber and lighter tones is masterful, thus producing soundscapes with emotional depth that arouse the deepest of emotions.

There are too many highlights on this album to mention, but the real treat is Lanois' musings on the pedal steel. Tracks like "Desert Rose" and "Carla" find him meditating over his instrument, drifting into nostalgia and the world of the sublime. But on tracks like "Agave," which brings sounds of a Mexican orchestra playing around the corner, and "Frozen," with its dub/reggae melodies, he seems to be having fun.

The cohesiveness of the music is noteworthy, as is the state of rawness in which Lanois leaves his tracks. They are all precious stones left unrefined and unpolished. In general, Lanois' work is characterized by a dramatic subtlety that is more about mood than melody. Belladonna is contemplative, graceful, nostalgic, spiritual, and tender without becoming excessive. A very intruiging and beautiful work.

Track Listing: Two Worlds; Sketches; Oaxaca; Agave; Telco; Desert Rose; Carla; The Deadly Nightshade; Dusty; Frozen; Panorama; Flametop Green; Todos Santos.

Personnel: Daniel Lanois, Brian Blade, Daryl Johnson, Brad Mehldau, Malcolm Burn, Victor Indrizzo, Bill Dillon, Aaron Embry, Gilbert Castellanos, Michael Desson.

Title: Belladonna | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Anti-


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Daniel Lanois Events

Date Event Time
Aug22Tue Daniel Lanois
Oslo Hackney
London, UK
19:30
$21.93

More Articles

Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Backlog" CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "re: dawn (from far)" CD/LP/Track Review re: dawn (from far)
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 8, 2016
Read "The Coyote" CD/LP/Track Review The Coyote
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by John Sharpe
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Overseas V" CD/LP/Track Review Overseas V
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 30, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.