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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

"Imagination never sleeps": Neil Young's Le Noise


Le Noise by Neil Young
(Click to Zoom Cover)
Release Date: September 28, 2010

More details continue to trickle out about the upcoming Neil Young release Le Noise.

Earlier, Daniel Lanois described Le Noise as "Just a man on a stool". Maybe that will be explained more in the interview with Young and Lanois on Canadian radio?

While there is much speculation on Lanois' use of "sonics" on the tracks, others are wondering whether the Dead Man Soundtrack is a preview of Le Noise? Others speculate whether the tone will be similar to the Nikos Bolas produced Times Square with its electric feedback squalls.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Randy Lewis characterized the collaboration's resulting in Le Noise:

The songs bristle with energy -- anger, passion, love, self-doubt, regret, hope -- emotions that seem all the more pure expressed without percussion, keyboards, strings or other instruments, just by Young’s voice and guitars.

So how does a producer manage to work with Neil Young?

Producer Daniel Lanois
Photo by Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

From Neil Young and Daniel Lanois: 'Le Noise' collaboration started with YouTube | Pop & Hiss | Los Angeles Times by Randy Lewis:
“He called me and he said ‘I could use your help,’ ” Lanois told me over the weekend at his house in Silver Lake. “He said, ‘I saw your Black Dub films on YouTube…. I loved those films. Would you film me and record me doing 10 acoustic songs?' I always wanted to make a Neil Young album. I said I would, of course.”

“I think we just hit on it, man,” Lanois said. “We just hit on this twin amp sound. The one amp has the bass part of the guitar and the other has the treble, and this allows me to treat each amplifier quite differently…. We were very sonically driven and innovative.”

“I told him that I had always been a little bit embarrassed that I paid no attention to holidays and weekends, I always just kept working through everything,” Lanois said. “He said, ‘Oh, I’m the same way. Don’t worry,’ he says, ‘Those are only markers of time as determined by someone else.'

“I thought it was a great line," he said. "I think it takes a strong person to realize that the imagination never sleeps. You wake up in the night, you have an idea…. We’re very similar in that way. We don’t operate by pre-determined markers of time.”

More on Neil Young's New Album 'Le Noise'.

FWIW, pre-orders for Le Noise by Neil Young are already ranked at #40 #38 #18 on Bestseller listing.

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At 9/08/2010 04:40:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Interesting article. If Neil had already written and recorded ten acoustic songs before the collaboration with Lanois, we have another shelved album.If instead he had just some ideas for an acoustic project, anyway, we see a change of plan with the actual semi electric record...

Andrea."So Tired"

At 9/08/2010 11:33:00 PM, Blogger ShittyHorse said...

This is awesome, I love it. Stephen King wrote in his brilliant book; "On Writing" that the muse is a very fickle fella (muses are traditionally women but King's is a cigar chomping burly dude) and that the muse brings the magic on its terms and on its own time- not the other way around which, King says, is how it should be and is a pretty fair deal.
I think this record is going to show Neil as the electric wizard he is. I'd be lying if I didn’t say that part of the reason I love Neil is his devotion to his craft and the belief that there are other forces at work other than just him with a guitar & amp, and a pen & paper, when it comes to writing, recording and performing. Neil has been around long enough to know whether or not recording around the full moon is bunk or really helps bring on the magic. He still does it. Just the fact that Neil follows the full moon confirms he's for real when he says the muse is the boss. I love this about him. In our plastic downloadable, throwaway digital age its go to know there is still some mystery, still those who answer to something more mystical than the buck. Some who truly believe there is no separation between Art and Life and that Art is still a miraculous thing.
I understand some folk’s apprehension about the collaboration between Neil and Lanois, but I welcome it. Neil has found another mystically inspired brother-in-arms. This record couldn’t have come at a better time and right at start of autumn- the best time of the year- Nothing beats fall in New England- in my opinion anyway. I have a feeling this will be a good fall album.

At 9/09/2010 09:22:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@SH: Great comment, as always.

Yes, this muse thing is quite intriguing.

And to add to the mix, we now know that Neil "sees the vista" as well as hears the muse.

And this is good...

At 9/09/2010 10:02:00 AM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

"In our plastic downloadable, throwaway digital age its go to know there is still some mystery, still those who answer to something more mystical than the buck. Some who truly believe there is no separation between Art and Life and that Art is still a miraculous thing."

Shitty, that is among the most profound and true-to-my-own-feelings thing I've read here. Awesome post. Thank you!

@Thrash... I've been thinking about what Neil means by seeing the "vista".

Mirriam online defines it most appropriately as "an extensive mental view (as over a stretch of time or a series of events)", which must indicate that Neil has a clear view of the future and what he wants to do, or what the muse has put there for him to do?

Very interesting.

And Shitty - I read that book 'on writing'. Quite a good read from one of the masters.

At 9/09/2010 11:10:00 AM, OpenID fakeexpressionsoftheunkown said...

An all round “well said!!!” to the post and comments. are the real shit man!!

Truly rare and insightful stuff.

I can’t wait to hear the new album. It’s pre-ordered but I will have to wait an extra 10 days for the airmail delivery to South Africa.

At 9/09/2010 12:56:00 PM, Blogger Five Hairs High said...

I knew I heard something going on sonically with the bass just rumbling in the old Schnitzer Concert Hall. It really gave a dramatic feeling to songs like You Never Call, Peaceful Valley, and Love and War. Thanks TW!

At 9/09/2010 02:50:00 PM, Blogger Dug said...

The more that things change, the more they stay the same.

I don't know if this album will be this or that, or if working with this guy or that guy is a good thing. I welcome the change by working with this new guy, new inspiration is good for the soul. But it's pointless to speculate with Neil. What I do know is that I am just happy Neil still feels the Muse and is putting out music. It can't be worst than FITR... I hope.

At 9/09/2010 03:39:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

@Dug - I'd say FITR is a hard album to beat, in terms of creativity, songwriting, expression, meaningfulness, and balls-out rockingness, but to each their own.

If it's AS GOOD as FITR, I'll be happy as hell.

At 9/09/2010 04:19:00 PM, Blogger Dug said...

I won't disagree with your opinion Matthew (to each his own), But to me it just seemed empty, like it was forced out or something. I've maybe listened to the Album 5-10 times and see no reason to play it again. It just never caught on with me. Maybe down the road sometime I'll give it a try again and get it. Hey there has to be a worst album and in my opinion its FITR. But then again I put Greendale and LWW in my top 5 neil albums, from what I read on these forums those two are not high on many lists. Anywho, looking forward to the new album.


At 9/09/2010 04:25:00 PM, Blogger Dug said...

I guess I should of said my top 5 in no particular order
Rust Never Sleeps

Hopefully Noise can bump one of them!

At 9/09/2010 05:12:00 PM, Blogger Sandy Horne said...

Aw Shitty, there you go, blowing me away yet again. I realized that I have a tendency to re-read your posts several times, and more is reavealed with each reading. Seriously, it's like the same effect Neil's music has on me. You Rock!


At 9/09/2010 06:24:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Shitty, you definitely have a way with words..I always enjoy your posts...Yeah like I said on another post..lets just see what this collaboration brings...

See what it brings
It could be good things
In the air.... for muse!!

At 9/09/2010 07:44:00 PM, Blogger mynameisraincheck said...

I'll admit I haven't gotten real excited about a new Neil album in awhile. Too much concept, too little execution.

I got up for the idea behind Greendale, but the SONGS fell a little short for me - not bad, but not first tier Neil.

War and Fork were more art of the moment, nice sentiments, but where's the ART?

This one, from the shows I've heard, has the SONGS to back up the concept. This one, I think, will be the Neil we've been waiting for.

At 9/10/2010 09:04:00 AM, Blogger asg said...

would it be so bad if "LE NOISE" was a "hit" ?

At 9/10/2010 10:29:00 AM, Blogger Jill said...

@ Andrea, that`s a good point. Even way back at the Musicare awards Neil was saying he had written `4 or 5` new songs.

@ Shitty, you have such a brilliant way of expressing yourself, your comments are a joy to read!

@ Matt, I`m with you on FITR, but then I also love AYP which I know is not exactly popular either! Actually I was playing AYP recently when a young friend dropped by and asked me what I was listening to. Now he`s quite definitely not a Neil fan but after hearing the whole album he commented that it was the best thing he`d ever heard by Neil! And he`s heard quite a lot round at my place!


At 9/10/2010 10:49:00 AM, Blogger kdovoric said...

Neil Young has been most successful at polarizing his listeners, either by jettisoning preconceived notions of his work, or buttressing popular opinion of him as the ultimate 70s bedsit troubadour-cum-grunge riff-maniac. It is this very polarization that will doubtless keep him relevant and permanently on the rock radar, as much for all of his latter-day foibles ("Chrome Dreams II") as for his a feats of inspiration ("Living with War", “Fork in the Road”.) The easy notion at which to arrive is simply to stipulate Neil's canon into two rigid philosophies: The rockers (Horse present or in absentia), and the dreamy, Ben Keith (rest his gentle soul)-laden reveries (read the much under-appreciated "Prairie Wind.") This, as most die-hard Young fans will staunchly attest, is too simple; even with the practically inaugural "After the Gold Rush," Neil's shaky voice and trebly and insect-like guitar set him apart from the West-Coast AOR rock glitterati.

Hence comes yet another seemingly distracted set, “Le Noise”, its name a droll pun on Neil’s prestigious new production partner’s own handle. Given Daniel Lanois’s pedigree, it will be interesting to hear the swampy, echo-atop-echo dirge of said producer’s signature providing a sonic landfill for Neil’s long-enduring love affair with exhuming relics from his storied past. Superlatives will, of course, be parceled out like Halloween candy; remember the hubbub circling Lanois’s and Bob Dylan’s “Oh Mercy”, that most un-Dylan of Dylan LPs? The legendary rocker-meets-legendary rock producer trend seems to evince no sign of ebbing, as Brian Eno’s similar collusions with David Byrne (the second one), and – before him – Paul Simon will verify. Yet, such a pairing is a savvy move on Neil’s part (aren’t they all?), ensuring credibility in the Application Era while consciously decimating the patterns into which has slipped during the last decade since 2001’s “Are you Passionate?”

At 9/10/2010 10:58:00 AM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

I'm listening to the excellent recording of the Winnipeg concert(really great Old Dutch master!): I continue considering breathtaking the acoustic triad sequence:YNC, Peaceful Valley Boulevard, Love and War (the better from the times of RNS). Plus the great electric Hitchhiker. This is my Twisted Road record.
Jill, AYP is one of the "last records" I have played more.
Some great songs and an excellent backing band.And Toast?

Andrea."So Tired"

At 9/10/2010 12:37:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

@Dug - That's a wonderful top-5 list, man. Greendale is definitely up there for me as well... in fact, Greendale, LWW and FITR are my 3 favorites this decade.

I'd add Silver & Gold (I absolutely love that album), but that's from last decade technically.

FITR seems to be a hard one for most people. For some reason I've loved it since the first video premiered. There's one or two jams on it that I feel are a little rushed, but that's okay by me.

Anyway, I'm excited about all this stuff we're hearing about Le Noise. Like kdovoric says, it sounds like it's going to be the album that "destroys" or "undoes" the patterns Neil's gotten into over the last decade, and I'm hoping it gets into my top 5 list.

Btw - seems like there's a similar disconnect with CD2 - either you love it or you don't really get it. Me, I don't really get that one. I have a hard time with it.

But then, that's why it's so cool that Neil releases like an album a year. You can love 5 and hate 5, and it's been a successful decade.

heh heh


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