Daniel Lanois

Probably most well-known as a producer of recordings by artists as styistically diverse as Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel, Willie Nelson, Marianne Faithful, Scott Weiland and, most famously, U2, Daniel Lanois is also a solo artist whose works are well worth exploration. Belladonna is an all-instrumental set centered, for the most part, on Lanois’ ethereal steel guitar sound, but don’t expect more than a shimmering ghost of anything resembling typical country music. Heavily influenced by his ’80s collaborations with ambient music pioneer Brian Eno, Lanois uses his studio expertise to create sonic atmospheres that are both resonantly vast and finely focused. The result is an album that evokes a soft-focus emotional landscape that is ornate, haunting and ephemeral. That said, the brevity of the pieces here—most are three minutes or shorter—doesn’t give the listener much time to really sink into a song before it disappears to be supplanted by the next one, an experience that this listener found less than satisfying.