Daniel Lanois is a Canadian guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and producer, who’s best known for his production work with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Brandon Flowers and U2’s most beloved and famous album, The Joshua Tree, and for his collaborations with the equally legendary Brian Eno. And with three albums that he’s produced or co-produced winning the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, while four others were nominated for Grammys, so it’s quite likely that one of your favorite records had Lanois at the knobs.
Lanois has managed to be remain relevant and relentlessly experimental over the years, and his latest project, “Anti-Thesis” manages to bear a similarity to his work with Eno, in the fact that it’s just as hypnotic, immersive and textured; however, that’s where all similarities end. The “Anti-Thesis” project focuses on sounds that are much more visceral and more rhythm-based with Lanois subtly remixing material that would probably be lost in an instant gratification culture because what Lanois has crafted is so deftly and carefully nuanced. The latest single in the project has Lanois remixing (or should I say re-working?) Saharan Desert-based Tuareg band, Tinariwen’s “Adounia Ti Chidjret” live – in a 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham as it rolls around the streets of Toronto with a couple of buddies cheering the producer on and digging what he’s crafted. Yes, seriously. And it’s pretty fucking awesome to boot.
Lanois’s re-work of “Adounia Ti Chidjret” retains the deeply hypnotic groove of the original but he adds an atmospheric, almost dub-like texture to the song which pulls the groove and the vocals to the forefront of your attention – and it turns the song into what sounds like a mystical yet funky rumination brought about by the desert sky.