Daniel Lanois – “Opera”

BN-EL628_0909da_G_20140909134050 Go ahead, ask the question: “Has Daniel Lanois made a live EDM album?”

The answer is no — or at least, his new Flesh and Machine isn’t that album. It marks the storied music producer’s return to the instrumental ambient projects he undertook in the 1980s under Brian Eno’s tutelage, now informed by state-of-the-art sampling and recording technologies. Moments of fragile beauty (usually conjured by processing lap steel and other acoustic sources) that Lanois fans have come to savor are here, as are unsettling journeys through prog-rock textures.

The first video, a live performance of the album track “Opera,” turns up Flesh and Machine’s rhythmic and tonal registers to even higher levels. With a drummer behind him, Lanois generates hot blasts of distorted tones, sampling, dubbing and processing digital signals in real time to create an eerie, pulse-pounding cathedral of sound. It’s music to fire the synapses of the EDM generation, yet Lanois has a credible, longstanding claim to this electronic music; the legacy of his early years recording innovative Canadian new wave groups like Martha and the Muffins, Simply Saucer, and Time Twins is evident on this postpunk improvisation.

This is some of the most exciting music-making of this year, and Lanois is taking it on the road through the rest of 2014, “bringing the studio to the stage.” He’s also commissioned promotional videos for the entire album from both renown filmmakers (like Atom Egoyan and Mary Harron) and undiscovered videographers for a Flesh and Machine sound-as media project. If all that activity sounds exhausting, don’t even get him started on his role as chief creative officer and music curator for the soon-to-launch music-streaming service UpRise.FM.


Flesh and Machine will be released on October 28.

9-21    Salle Andrew-Matthieu, Laval, QC
9-22    Theatre Hector-Charland, L’Assomption, QC
9-24    Salle Desjardins-Telus, Rimouski, QC
9-25    Theatre Petit Champlain, Quebec, QC (2 shows)
9-26    Cabaret Theatre, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC
9-27    Theatre Granada, Sherbrooke, QC
9-28    Salle Odysse, Gatineau, QC
9-30    The Playhouse, Fredericton, QC
10-1    Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax, NS
10-2    Capitol Theatre, Moncton, NB
10-3    Holy Heart Theatre, St. John’s, NL
11-9    The Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON
11-10  Masonic Temple, Brooklyn, NY (with Tinarawen & the Antlers)
11-13  City Winery, Nashville, TN
11-14  Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL
11-16  El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
11-17  Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
11-19  The Hamilton, Washington, DC
11-20  World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA
11-21  Columbus Theatre, Providence, RI
11-22  Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA
11-23 L’Astral Montreal, QC (2 shows)

  • Julie Carroll

    This is rad! It scared the dogs when it first started. That’s always a good sign.