Daniel Lanois has long been associated with some of the biggest names in popular music such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, U2, Brian Eno and Emmylou Harris and though his own music is quite different in scope and form, it still shares the core aesthetic values of intellectual creativity and the desire to find something new and fascinating in song and composition.
Goodbye To Language is the collaborative instrumental playing of Lanois (pedal steel) and Rocco Deluca (lap steel) – recorded, processed and reconstructed through digital circuitry. The effect is overwhelmingly moving avant-garde soundscapes that travel from macro-lens intimacy to widescreen futuristic trances, with shimmering notes that ring out, deep subsonic bass rumbles and hazy drones coated in sonic dust.
The pair explore the wide-ranging possibilities of two organic instruments with effect processing and the ways in which the listener’s aural receptors receive and interpret the dynamics and of ambient and arcane sounds. The inherent sliding nature of their instruments creates a fluidity where sound is malleable, notes bend and shimmer, leap and plummet. It’s all about texture and mood, creating an emotional ecosystem that be either warm and contemplative or filled with tension and foreboding dread.
There are nods to Eno’s ambient explorations (of which Lanois was a contributor) and the kind of modern dark experimental electronic music created by Gas, The Caretaker and Tim Hecker. Ultimately it is a masterful and beautiful journey through the creative and emotive possibilities of instruments generally associated with country music.
this review was first published in Rhythms magazine