I went to see Daniel Lanois play live this past Sunday at the El Rey. Joined by longtime musician friends, Jim Wilson on bass and the incomparable Brian Blade on drums, Lanois took us on a boundary-pushing musical journey, replacing instruments with studio technolgy to create soundscapes. It was ambient music with heavy grooves and sonic landscapes. Lanois is using studio technology as instrumentation, 'pushing the form' as he said at the close of the set to find new sounds and musical horizons. It was pretty amazing to say the least. There were some cool visuals on a screen to give a bit more context and visual stimulation as the on-stage presence was fairly inert-sort of like a dj set, but the music didn't need any help. Lanois has helped shape a lot of the music we hear-he is a searcher and seeker of new sounds and directions and has influenced people across the musical spectrum (Sonic Highways, Dave Grohl's music show on HBO pays homage to Lanois in its most recent LA episode).
Speaking of influencers, Nothing Has Changed, is a newly mastered collection of some of David Bowie's songs. It spans a wide portion of his career (from 1964-2014!!), and throws in a couple of new songs for good measure. It's three cds worth of amazing music--is there anyone like Bowie really? I don't think so and if you don't know bowie then you don't know music!
And then there's Marilyn Manson. I'm not kidding, just when you think you've got him pegged as a late 90s industrial-goth provocateur whose sell-by date has surely run out, he releases a very catchy and equally depressing song bout failed relationships in advance of an upcoming album. Who knew that Manson could find a groove? Well Third Day of a Seven Day Binge, smokes along. It's a free downlaod on his website, more than worth it if you ask me.