Monday, September 27, 2010

Young and Lanois

Well, in the words of Mr. Young hisself, this should be inarestin'.

The album’s parameters are strict. Mr. Young performs alone, on electric or acoustic guitar, in eight tracks that total 39 minutes. “I wanted to do the solo record because I didn’t want to teach anybody the songs,” he said by telephone from the Mountain House restaurant in Woodside, Calif., where he and Mr. Lanois were spending the afternoon doing interviews. “These songs are pretty complex, actually. It’s simple, the amount of chords they have, but the way they’re laid out, they’re more complex than they sound like they are. I’ve found that a lot of musicians that play with me all thought that my songs are really simple, until they actually tried to play them with me.”


The real-time performances became raw material for Mr. Lanois. He tweaked and toyed with the guitar sounds, processing multiple signals from each instrument. He also looped, echoed and multiplied fragments of the performances, time-warping the stark realism of vocals and guitar.

“Everything that happened actually happened, but he’ll take pieces of the performance and put them in again and put them in different places,” Mr. Young said. “He does a performance in the mix, and I do a performance in the performance and it comes together to be what you see and hear.”

When Mr. Young claws at one of his venerable electric guitars — the much-altered Gibson Les Paul he calls Old Black or his Gretsch White Falcon, which has separate pickups for upper and lower strings, awaiting manipulation by Mr. Lanois — the tracks blare like his band Crazy Horse. But Mr. Young’s guitar and voice are unmoored from a rhythm section, and they ricochet in stereo through Mr. Lanois’s transformations, meeting their own shadows and ghosts. “Rumblin,’ ” a song about portents of change, merges a hymn and a burgeoning earthquake.

“I don’t want to be a record maker that just puts a lot of sweetening on a man’s work,” Mr. Lanois said. “I’ve never gone this far on any other record, ever. As pure a record as this might seem, on my part of it I think I’ve really stepped way ahead of anything else I’ve ever done with these sonic delights.”

Mr. Young said: “He had all of the room in the world to do it because there was nothing else there in the way. There was no band in the way, no backing singers, no arrangement of instruments — nothing in the way of him doing it. The only thing there other than me was him, and he was using pieces of me on top of me. It worked out real good.”

The results are available on Neil Young's YouTube channel.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Weblog Commenting by Site Meter