Music

Daniel Lanois and Venetian Snares Is a Beautifully Deadly Combination

Photo courtesy of Planet Mu

Just by doing what they normally do on their own, Daniel Lanois and Venetian Snares combine forces to make something wholly new.

Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois
Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois

Planet Mu

4 May 2018

For his two previous releases, producer, and singer/songwriter Daniel Lanois has been inching away from the initial ideas of ambient music. In 2014, he began incorporating harder elements into instrumental work on Flesh and Machine, making something that bordered on musique concrète. Two years later, he teamed up with Rocco DeLuca to conjure sounds even more abstract and anchorless on Goodbye to Language. What would be the next logical step? That question is about as open-ended as the music itself, and everyone's naturally going to have their own ideas of where he should go from here.

His collaboration with Aaron Funk, also known as Venetian Snares, is a paradox. On the one hand, Venetian Snares's breakbeat/glitch approach means that a rhythmic foundation is going to come with the package. On the other hand, Funk's brand of glitch is all over the place. Their joint album, plainly titled Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois, is an artistic step taken in simultaneously opposite directions if such a thing were possible. Lanois is here to soothe you, while Funk is here to stimulate you. Do the two mesh?

Not surprisingly, your opinion will hinge on what you think of Venetian Snares. If you think Funk's Last Step moniker is about as strange as he should allow himself to become or if you are a fan of Lanois albums like Shine, this album is going to be difficult for you. Lanois remains a deft pedal steel player, and his ability to weave his instrument into Eno-esque tapestries has become second nature to him. But as the billowing chords begin to hover over the pointillist synthesizer noises, you can't help but wonder who is playing off of who -- or if anybody is playing off of anybody. For all I know, they could be Beefhearting their way through the whole thing. With only eight tracks spanning 33 minutes, you really do need to press play again to get a first impression.

Your ear will adjust, though. Even if Lanois and Funk are seemingly working towards opposite ends, the sonic marriage of the two becomes easier to process with each listening. If you are new to breakbeat, Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois is more likely to plant a glitch seed in your brain rather than convert you overnight. The one track that finds Venetian Snares at his most intense is tucked away in the second half. On "Mothors Pressroll P131", it sounds as if he is cramming the available space with every sound and every beat available on his synthesizer.

He tempers this extreme approach by cooling things down to industrial scrapes on "Bernard Revisit P81" and letting Lanois doing most of the "talking" on the closing number "Ophelius 1stP118". The schizophrenic "Night MXCMPV1 P74" would have made a fine conclusion to the album too, but there's something to be said for falling action after overloading your earbuds with some of the most hyperactive IDM in existence.

Again, do they two entities mesh? The simplest answer is 'yes,' but you need to work for it if you are coming it this album purely from the Lanois angle. This work is worth the effort because very few albums like Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois are in existence. Cherish the formula before it becomes saturated.

8
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.

Music

Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

A Lesson from the Avengers for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.

Music

Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.

Music

Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.

Books

First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?

Reviews

HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.

Music

Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.

Music

How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.

Music

Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.

Music

Paul Weller Dazzles with the Psychedelic and Soulful 'On Sunset'

Paul Weller's On Sunset continues his recent streak of experimental yet tuneful masterworks. More than 40 years into his musical career, Weller sounds as fresh and inspired as ever.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.