It might seem scary when producer/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Lanois hands over his CV to someone. One can imagine the look on the person's face upon seeing the variety of artists Lanois has worked with. One cannot but notice that Lanois either alone, or in joint effort with Eno, has changed the direction of modern music several times, by producing some of the most relevant artists of the '80s, '90s, and the new millennium. Somehow he has always been capable of inspiring those artists to shine by helping them reach spiritual depths that they are unable to reach by themselves.
Compared to his production work with other artists, his personal work has been minimalisticstripped to the basics, slightly distorted, yet creating beautiful tapestries of sounds, distant drums, and his hauntingly beautiful voice. This record is a collection of live recordings and a few alternate takes from his previous record and masterpiece, Shine
. It opens mysteriously with "Power Of One, where Lanois' voice and guitar beautifully express the song's melancholy mood. This is followed by "Sweet Soul Honey, a passionate and bluesy ballad. The new version of "Sometimes is more mellow and sweet, but is nevertheless as beautiful as the version that appears on Shine
. The title track is a fierce instrumental with distorted improv-guitar solos. The live versions of "Devil's Bed and "The Maker bring out certain folkish tinges, with "Stormy Sky even featuring vocalists Emmy Lou Harris and Willie Nelson. Rockets
ends with "Space Kay, a spacey instrumental with distorted echoes.
It is obvious that this is not intended to be a hit record, and it's an opportunity to see the other side of the coin. Although the approach is minimalistic, it features many of Lanois' characteristic sound design features. All of these sounds are used more to evoke a mood more than anything else, and the emotional impact is stunning.
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