Daniel Lanois Goes Out of The Ordinary With ‘Goodbye To Language’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

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lanoisDaniel Lanois is one of those multi-faceted artists who eery effort defies expectation. As a producer, artist, sideman and songwriter, he’s brought a distinctive sound to each of his projects, an approach that makes each project distinctly his own.  Those that he’s worked with — Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, U2, and Brian Eno, among them — have felt his unique stylistic stamp,making those collaborations markedly different from anything else in their respective catalogs.

In Lanois’ case, it’s more than a matter of credence and/or versatility. Unique in every regard, he shows a particular ability to add ambiance to any arrangement, while frequently veering into the atonal soundscapes pioneered by such avant-garde classical composers as Steve Reich and Terry Riley. Not surprisingly then, Goodbye To Language is, once again, out of the ordinary, a collection of strangely beguiling soundscapes that segue seamlessly from one into another without any apparent distinction between one composition or another. They simply drift along through the ethos, each with a beauty, effervescence and tranquility all their own.

That then forces a word of warning. As the album title suggests, these “songs” provide an ideal example of ethereal illumination, passages sans vocals, hooks, choruses or anything that would allow for a true melodic imprint. The tracks are titles applied to all  — “Low Sudden,” “Time On,” “Deconstruction,” “Suspended” and so forth — but anyone with a more conservative definition of sound and substance may be disappointed. Fans of Reich and Riley will likely find plenty of fascination to draw their interest, others may find themselves wishing Lanois would stick with traditional tunes. An album that’s both furtive and fascinating all at the same time,  Goodbye To Language is something akin to a meditative mantra wrapped in the guise of seductive suggestion.

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