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Monday, September 27, 2010

Comment of the Moment: Le Noise

Neil Young and Daniel Lanois
Photo by Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Seems to be lots of reaction prior to Neil Young's release of Le Noise tomorrow.

The Neil Young Comment of the Moment is from Le Noise Video "Hitchhiker" by Matt L.
As for Le Noise, I am having a heck of a time with this one. It's so different. The only thing I can compare it to is Trans, in that it's so experimental and weird. At times it sounds like an experiment in literal one-man garage rock played in some kind of echo-chamber. The loops and delays permeate everything, and the songs are just awash in these 'sonics'.

One thing for certain is that the word 'sonics' has become a new favorite of rusties.

I like what Lanois is doing. I don't think it's 'innovative' per se', but it's definitely playful and fun. I feel like the songs are at once held aloft by the 'sonics' and overwhelmed by them. Sometimes I think I'd like to hear them with a band, like, the Horse should play these tunes, they'd really rock them. But at other times I can just let go and get into the vibe of them.

I love Angry World, and I love Love and War. Both beautiful comments on society and the general state of things, and each set to either this fusion of delay-drenched psychedelia and garage-rock (Angry World) or big, open-prairie style acoustic strumming that Lanois just paints the sky with.

Beautiful stuff. Strange electric production that might suffer in the end from a lack of percussion, I think - but who am I to criticize?

Mostly I love Neil's lyrical style of late. You know, the part that everyone keeps complaining about.

Neil has become a master of making complex statements about things using very simple statements.

What fascinates me is that this is the same artist who, 30 years ago, was using complex, psychedelic imagery to describe very simple feelings, and wrapping things in abstractions.

In true Neil Young fashion, he has managed to become the opposite kind of poet than he was originally.

Whereas young Neil can be described with references to poets like T.S. Eliot or John Keats, this more reflective, older Neil more reflects the style of William Carlos Williams, who mastered the art of simplicity with his poems 'The Red Wheelbarrow,' and 'This is Just to Say,' also in his later years.

The Red Wheelbarrow in particular, I think, is a good comparison point when one considers the overt simplicity of a song like Angry World.

It's a small and seemingly inocuous poem, but when you start thinking about what it means, it opens up into a world of complexity.

Simple lines like 'No doubt everything will go as planned,' in this song, are exactly that. A simply worded phrase that one could expound upon at great length - and that is the mark of a great poet.

So when people start getting down on Neil for his delvings into simplicity and apparently direct statements, I think they're generally missing the point of Neil as a poet, and what he's trying to convey in his simplicity. Deep, complicated thoughts about the world. While young Neil would have conveyed simple internal feelings using abstract imagery, also awesomely.

So, this is evolution. And in Neil's ever-entertaining way, it comes with experimentation, inversion and surprise.

I'm lovin' it.


From a comment on NPR Previews Neil Young's Le Noise's "Walk With Me" by ShittyHorse:
Right now I am still feeling the residuals of nerve-endings tingling, shivering-goose-bump hairs on end. Rock n' Roll is alive- still breathing in swirling, grinding, sonic breaths on Le Noise. Neil(with help from Lanois) has somehow taken all his experience, his career and shouted it down the echoing hallway of time, down past fifty-five years worth of rock- in all its splendid and raged glory, mixed that sound with personal sorrow and all the the confusion, anger, and frustration of the evening news then plugged it in and and hit the power button. Le Noise is the chemical reaction caused when genius, anger and electricity are combined and fed through Guitar amps.

All the doubters, the haters can eat their shoe. From what I've heard so far this album is it! Its so different, yet unmistakably Neil. At a time when rock seems to be hobbling along with aging, sorry limp- here comes Neil, on two strong legs, with the juices flowing, head-bobbing, body swaying over his Gretsch. Its not 1969, 1979, or 1989 its 2010 and Neil is releasing what already looks like one his best albums ever.



I absolutely loved it! I love the mix- all the sounds- it’s like waking up in a psychedelic battlefield; without all the death and with good melodies. Everything I've heard so far has completely blown me away. Like Neil Young in Ménage à trois with Sonic Youth and Jimi Hendrix- especially on Walk With Me. As much as I love the electric version of Hitchhiker I feel it was done better acoustic. Something about the solo acoustic renditions in 92' are just so hunting- but hey, it’s just a different version of the same spectacular song- either way I love it. The Hitchhiker is up there with Don’t Be Denied- hell of a song- I think Dylan said The Hitchhiker is as honest of a song as you get? Lanois, I think is a welcome fellow traveler for Neil- both Canadian, both mystical enough, both try to see under the surface and look for the undiscovered.

Rolling Stone says Le Noise is the sound of a man who refuses to give up and that’s pretty apt but for me it’s like Neil is still just starting out- I understand how that sounds but there is something to be said about an artist who refuses to believe he is past his prime, or that he knows all there is to know. Neil as retained an innocence that allows him to see into and navigate though a misty musical labyrinth where others (especially at his age) either won’t enter or just get too confused and turn back to more comfortable and recognizable quarters. Neil is innocent enough and has balls enough to tromp on in without a second guess. The result of which is always brilliant- misunderstood sometimes but this is Neil's art- not our own.

The blatant and the obvious does not always belong in art. Real art makes you FEEL and makes you THINK. Neil Young understands that in his line of work, to think you know everything is a death sentence- he needs to keep an open mind, and believe there is still much to learn and many ways to continue growing as an artist. Once you stop growing you start dying. Like the Young/Briggs credo; “The more you think, the more you stink” don’t let the conscious mind get in the way of the subconscious because that is where the art comes from, where the muse is. That’s why when Neil puts out a new album its exciting as hell- you want to hear (and see) what Neil has been up to. You know it will be different but you know him enough to trust that he’ll “never let you down”; you know it will be great, each in its own way because Neil is great. We know his beliefs and practices and they work, no matter who produces or who he plays with, its Neil’s ballgame- but the music- the muse makes the rules. This is way I say it’s like Neil is just starting out- it will always seem that way if Neil is keeps on his journey and retains his invaluable beliefs on art, music, writing ,life and creation.

Thanks Matt & SH!

More on Neil Young's New Album 'Le Noise'. Also, see:
- Neil Young's Le Noise "Weaving sonic tapestries"
- CBC Interview With Neil Young and Daniel Lanois
- Vinyl Review of Le Noise: TONEAudio MAGAZINE
- NEW LE NOISE VIDEO: Neil Young's "Love And War" on YouTube
-Le Noise: "It's a keeper" Tweets Critic Greg Kot
-Stream Neil Young's Entire Album Le Noise on NPR
-Neil Young and Daniel Lanois click on 'Le Noise' -
-NEW LE NOISE VIDEO: "Hitchhiker"
-Comment of the Moment: Le Noise's "Sonics"
-Neil Young Interview on Le Noise: "It sounded like God"
- Producer Daniel Lanois Discusses Making of "Walk With Me" + UNCUT Review (UPDATED)
- Video of Neil Young's "Angry World" from Le Noise
- Neil Young's Le Noise: "Just a man on a stool"
- "Imagination never sleeps": Neil Young's Le Noise
- NPR Previews Neil Young's Le Noise's "Walk With Me"
- Dead Man Soundtrack: Preview of Le Noise?
- Anticipating Neil Young's album Le Noise

Also, see all of Neil Young's Solo Electric Concert Tour Dates and Reviews.


At 9/27/2010 07:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may already been said but what is constantly been repeated on Angry World. Sounds like "we hate". Such glorious noise.

At 9/27/2010 10:02:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Yeah, some people on the rust list were ruminating on that too... it didn't seem like there was a consensus...I keep thinking it's the word 'angry', just the syllables seem like they get reversed. When we get higher quality mixes, I think it'll become more clear.

At 9/28/2010 09:25:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

..."ME AGE ME AGE ME AGE ME age me age me"..........I think that is what is said at the start and finish on "angry world"

just my opinion

At 9/28/2010 10:13:00 AM, Blogger SLGuitar1 said...

Hitchiker lifts Like an Inca. Wall St Journal reported last Friday that Neil Young was a former heroin user. I didn't recall that....has he now admitted heroin use

At 9/28/2010 12:27:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

I think the WSJ was wrong. They pulled that out of the ether. It used to be, you had to have sources and verify information before printing it in a newspaper. I guess that's not the case these days.

At 9/28/2010 05:34:00 PM, Blogger Sandy Horne said...

Just want to thank Matt and Shitty for their truly immeasurable contribution to this site. Your love for the man and his art is always expressed in such an intelligent, exuberant, yet approachable way. At least speaking for myself, I always look forward to reading your posts. You are both artists. Thank you and keep posting. We will be reading!!

At 9/28/2010 05:45:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Sandy for thanking Matt & SH!

These guys are rockin writers, eh?!

So are they musicians who want to be writers? Or writers who want to be musicians?

Or musical writers? or....

At 9/29/2010 07:03:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

just purchased a copy of the CD Le Noise this afternoon at my local record store in Aus.
Heavy rotation has begun,begun,begun,begun.....
I have reassessed what is being said in the intro of the song Angry World:......

"hate me hate me hate me hate me"
but that is only me decipering on the car cd player probably still wrong!...anyways, i still hold on my previous comments..the songs are strong and neil's voice (except for a few breaking high notes) is sublime...although I do feel, some of the strength via pure neil emotional rawness in a couple of the songs, is lost in an over "sonicfication"(my new word) of the tune..otherwise I feel its an earworm that will nestle in for the long stay!


At 9/29/2010 08:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just dream these songs already. Hasn't happend for years and I didn't even play the album that much yet.
They just stick to me like glue.


At 9/29/2010 11:18:00 AM, Blogger Tweck9 said...


Thank you for your kind comment. I very much appreciate it. It makes me immeasurably happy to know that my rambling can have a positive effect on people!


Trying very hard to be both, not sure how well I'm doing. Neil is the greatest of inspirations, though, and every time I hear something new from him that blows me away (such as Peaceful Valley Boulevard), that emotes with such beautiful power and rattles the spirit... it just compels me forward.


They hate me, hate me, hate me, an gry an gry angry age me age? in the left ear, and "love, love, love, fluh, bluh" in the right ear... aaaaaaaahhh!! I can't figure it out, and I'm now listening to the CD through a decent pair of headphones.

Hang on, one more time through...

Now I'm more interested in the right ear. What is that???

All I know is the sounds seem to be coming from this deep, yawning, cavernous vortex of thought and emotion that keeps trying to swallow my entire being.

At 9/29/2010 03:44:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Matty, you are listening to it on more technical equipment...I'm just on the car cd at the moment although the sound of the album on the whole is fine with my human ears! lol
whatever Neil's lyrics: strong ,emotive , heartfelt, retrospective, auto biographical,simplistic, lame i've heard them all..this album will grow on me..and things that grow on me aren't pruned so easily!
enjoy your posts Matty as i do everyones!

just my opinion

At 9/30/2010 01:51:00 AM, Blogger Motel George said...

I have been a Neil Young fan since 1968 and this is time warping amazing.
His voice has remained the same and I can still hear echos from The Old Laughing Lady.
He is the most enduring rocker of all time.


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