Daniel Lanois: Player, Piano [Album Review]

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Daniel Lanois
Player, Piano
Modern Recordings [2022]

Here’s a sentence I never expected I’d write: Daniel Lanois has made a quiet, quaint, and charming little piano album. That’s right, the Daniel Lanois who joined with Brian Eno to produce two of U2’s most important albums, The Joshua Tree and Achtung, Baby, and produced albums by Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson, The Neville Bros., Sinead O’Connor, and Neil Young. Of course, Lanois has also worked on numerous solo projects of his own—I’m particularly fond of his earliest albums, Arcadie (1989) and For the Beauty of Winona (1993)—and, while perhaps less well known, he’s also created soundtrack music for a half dozen or so movies, most notably “Sling Blade.”

Rarely is an album so aptly titled. Lanois has written and recorded 13 relatively brief piano songs, played gently, with only minor instrumental support, a drum machine here, a cello there. These are delicate instrumental recordings, quiet meditations, focused by simple, often beautiful melodies. While unexpected, it’s quite lovely, simple, and peaceful, perfect background listening for a quiet evening of reading or conversation. At times, hymn-like, at others echoing classical melodic themes, but always poignant and eloquently performed. Quite the unexpected change of pace, but a genuine delight.

“Wild Child” / “Cascade” / “ZsaZsa”

Brian Eno / Over The Rhine / Sven Wunder

Goodbye To Language (2016)

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