Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

449

Daniel Lanois: Belladonna

Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
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

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk CD/LP/Track Review
Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Pardes CD/LP/Track Review
Pardes
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Music for a Free World CD/LP/Track Review
Music for a Free World
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Rats Live on No Evil Star CD/LP/Track Review
Rats Live on No Evil Star
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 9, 2018
Read "The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore" CD/LP/Track Review The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 12, 2018
Read "Polka (Worldwide Deluxe Edition)" CD/LP/Track Review Polka (Worldwide Deluxe Edition)
by Chris May
Published: August 8, 2018
Read "speak between" CD/LP/Track Review speak between
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 3, 2018
Read "Montreal Memories" CD/LP/Track Review Montreal Memories
by Peter Hoetjes
Published: December 6, 2018
Read "The Best of the Grateful Dead Live" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of the Grateful Dead Live
by Doug Collette
Published: April 27, 2018
Read "Wings Uncaged" CD/LP/Track Review Wings Uncaged
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 2, 2018