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Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: Neil Young's Le Noise "Weaving sonic tapestries"

A very passionate review of Neil Young's new album Le Noise by musician/blogger Zak Claxton:
First, yes: it's a solo album. There's no drums, no bass, no pedal steel guitar, no backing vocals to augment Neil's performance. But as opposed to the familiar solo acoustic songs that Neil's done many times, this is a solo electric album for six of the eight songs (the other two do use acoustic, but in ways you've never heard from NY before). Well, the electric guitar has never been the choice of the solo singer-songwriter. In its raunchier modes, its sound usually competes too much with the voice for the song to be highlighted.

And that, my friends, is where Daniel Lanois comes in. Neil had spoken to him about producing this solo album, and had originally intended on walking in with his old Martin guitar and doing something that I'm sure would have been acceptable to his fans. But after throwing ideas back and forth, apparently Lanois did or said something to Neil that allowed Neil to trust him.

The result is a combination of Neil's honest, heartfelt songwriting with Lanois' incredible ability to weave sonic tapestries. There are no overdubs here, despite what your ears may tell you. Neil and Daniel used some special gear and recording/mixing techniques to deliver a huge wall of sound that moves, changes, echoes, pans, fades in and out, and otherwise keeps you spellbound while you listen, despite the fact that the guitars and vocals were recorded live at Lanois' home studio here in the Los Angeles area. With Neil's blessing, Lanois treated the moods of the songs as if he were doing audio post-production for a movie, and the resulting picture is painted in a way that keeps the listener fascinated the whole way through.

Thanks Zak!

More of review on Zak Claxton's blog.


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

More on Neil Young's New Album 'Le Noise'. Also, see:
- 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.

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At 9/27/2010 12:43:00 PM, Blogger Zak Claxton said...

No, thank YOU, Thrasher! What a nice way to start a Monday morning, waking up to see my review reposted on the world's premier NY news site!

I don't ask everyone to like Le Noise as much as I do. Like all NY albums, though, all I ask is for people to give it a chance, and to let it grow on you. It is a prerequisite to listen either on good headphones or a really nice sound system... please don't do yourself the disservice of a quick listen through computer speakers or iPod earbuds. It's one of Neil's best, but you need to really hear it to understand why.

At 9/27/2010 11:25:00 PM, Blogger ShittyHorse said...

Can I be the first to call Le Noise "Sonic Rock"?
Have Neil Young and Daniel Lanois created a new genre?
Maybe I'm running away with myself but it sounds that way to me. I know there have been echo and strange effects added to music before- but this just seems so different from what I've heard before- on a whole other level. Maybe it's these effects, to this extent, put to Neil's intensity and these emotionally charged songs that make the difference.
I do believe this album will stand up among the other greats; EKTIN, TTN, OTB, Rust, Trans, Eldorado/Freedom, I could go on. There is an aura around this music, created in part by Lanois but also what prompted it and where Neil was at. I believe that what the artist was feeling when the art was created is almost as important to note as the art itself.
Sadly the best art is created when the artist is in turmoil-physically, emotionally, personally. Loss, depression and even illness are breeding grounds for great art. These songs and Neil's direction were, at least in part, prompted by loss and I do feel it was a mistake to leave off "You Never Call". Maybe the song would not have worked well with Lanois' contribution, but like many of Neil's albums, what is left unsaid is perhaps just as important as what was.

At 9/29/2010 04:53:00 PM, Blogger Isorski said...

I have intentionally avoided all reviews of Le Noise until I could hear it myself all the way through and WOW I do like it a lot. I posted a full review on my blog at Enjoy!


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