Belladonna

Belladonna

by Daniel Lanois
     
 
Because Daniel Lanois collaborated with Brian Eno on Eno's landmark ambient albums in the 1980s -- including the recently reissued Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks and Ambient 4: On Land -- it's tempting to call the all-instrumental

Overview

Because Daniel Lanois collaborated with Brian Eno on Eno's landmark ambient albums in the 1980s -- including the recently reissued Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks and Ambient 4: On Land -- it's tempting to call the all-instrumental Belladonna Lanois's ambient album. Tempting, but misleading, since by definition ambient music fades into the background, disappearing into the ether. Most of Belladonna, on the other hand, flows gently with Lanois's pedal steel guitar gliding through discernable, songlike melodies. A better comparison would be Ry Cooder's classic soundtracks such as Crossroads or Paris, Texas. While occasionally fragmentary ("Dusty") or muted and monochromatic ("Todos Santos"), most of Belladonna's tracks are complete journeys in and of themselves, and an even greater one in sequence. The wavelike "Sketches" begins by contrasting Lanois's heavily reverbed guitar with Brian Blade's crystalline cymbals, but the dreaminess is interrupted by beautiful, cascading piano runs (courtesy of a cameo from jazz great Brad Mehldau). The mariachi horns of "Agave" lead into the slow, deliberate guitar/piano duet of "Telco," which buzzes with distant dissonant effects that contrast with the simple purity of the southwestern melody on "Desert Rose." And so it goes throughout the beautiful Belladonna, an album worthy of one's undivided attention.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rob Theakston
Right from the onset of "Two Worlds" it's a refreshing splash in the face to hear Daniel Lanois' pedal steel playing dance around a bed of guitar feedback; it serves as a reference point to some of his work on U2's The Joshua Tree. Like 2003's Shine, Belladonna reveals a side of Lanois that is a treat to see. The vulnerable, contemplative side that was such a critical element to his work with Brian Eno is more than evident, and his slide guitar playing also highlights just how important his contributions were to the notable releases of Eno's solo catalog. The interplay between musicians on the full ensemble tracks is focused and meticulous, with each member knowing exactly when to play and more importantly, when not to. But above all this, it's Lanois' guitar that tells the story and is the anchor of the 13-song cycle; a homage to a lost love with Latin and desert country influences embedded within the center of the record. It's every bit as focused and accomplished as anything in Lanois' catalog, and die-hard fans will be wanting more long after the disc winds down.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/12/2005
Label:
Anti
UPC:
0045778676729
catalogNumber:
86767

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