Prior to launching a solo career, crafting lush, ambient classics like “The Maker” and many more, Daniel Lanois was best known as a producer extraordinaire, working with the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris—and perhaps most notably for teaming up with Brian Eno on several U2 albums, including megahit The Joshua Tree. But in the present, Lanois’ most recent album, Flesh & Machine (stream it below), came out last week, and PopMatters says, “This is ambient music with the capacity to excite, engage, and evoke.” Additionally, “The real Flesh and Machine visual component that sounds extraordinary will be Lanois’ live shows in support of the release. Each night, Lanois, along with bassist Jim Wilson and drummer Brian Blade, will sample, dub and process in real time on stage each night, making for a singular performance on each date of the tour, never to be recreated.” And when Lanois and Co. (above, performing “Opera”) appear at the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn on Monday, it will be for Antithesis, “an evening of electrified shimmy and sonic wonder curated by Daniel Lanois,” featuring a full set each from Lanois, Mali desert-blues outfit Tinariwen and Brooklyn dream-rock trio the Antlers, plus a special appearance by “outsider artist” Lonnie Holley. This is one of those special shows you don’t want to miss.
Tag Archives: Tinariwen
Tinariwen – Brooklyn Bowl – March 24, 2014
Tinariwen are one of those bands that can be all things to all people. There’s the Tinariwen as culmination of a fascinating backstory. There’s the Tinariwen as a metaphor. And, of course, most important, there’s Tinariwen the collective of musicians, playing excellent music all across the world. All of these were onstage at once Monday night at Brooklyn Bowl, and which one you saw was a purely personal experience, from the enthusiastic young guys chanting and waving flags to the middle-aged fans clapping along to the young Brooklynites dancing the night away.
The Malian music group seemed to know no boundaries, turning a brick-and-mortar bowling alley decorated with a disco ball and big screen TVs into a transcendental tent, orange and yellow lights of the desert on the ceiling, with room for all within. The set list drew largely from Tinariwen’s new album, Emmaar, and the musicians, and the words they sang, seemed to blur into a single communal experience. Electric guitars growled and moaned in helical patterns—was it with sorrow or was it with joy? Either or both or neither, you decide. With a popping electric bass and simple rhythmic percussion, this was mostly dance music: magical, beautiful, difficult to resist. The musicians clapping and twisting hypnotically felt just as vital to the experience as the musicians twisting the unique guitar solos, somewhere between Leo Nocentelli and Robert Johnson by way of the Sahara.
The encore encapsulated the night in three pieces: The first began with Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni, alone, chanting and playing acoustic before the band slowly grew, duet, trio until all six played as one, with little boundary between Tinariwen and the audience. The second piece was the funkiest of the night, the electric bass speaking the international language of groove. Finally, the percussion-dominated closer was a rhythmic cacophony, the dancer onstage moving in increasingly faster and more complicated fashion—either he was forcing the band’s tempo or vice versa, but the crowd tried to keep up regardless. The night ended with smiles all round, free of boundaries, at least until the magic wore off. With a final bow, the band repeated the only English words they had uttered all night: “Thank you.” —A. Stein
Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | jcmcilwaine.com
Tinariwen – Webster Hall – November 19, 2011
The stage is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what your backstory is: If you can make great music, people will come see you regardless. And while the band’s history is nothing short of remarkable, Tinariwen had a Webster Hall audience’s rapt attention Saturday night because of their music that, at times, felt almost literally magical.
Working mostly with material off their 2011 release, Tassili, the group was a study in the unexpected. Using mostly common-issue tools (guitar, bass), they created a hypnotic, groovy blend unlike anything I’ve ever heard. You could certainly close your eyes and discover bits of funk or Delta blues buried beneath otherworldly percussion and chanting harmonies. But these pieces came together to create something unique and moving and filled with inherent happiness.
It seemed strange to think that these musicians came in on the bus parked around the corner and did a sound check like any other. The bass guitar, a standard-issue four-string Fender, was a magic carpet of groove, a thin line between defiant and jubilant. Those in the crowd were drawn in completely, dancing in ways they did not know they could move, coaxed by the turbaned band’s movements. This was music for people who love music because it’s music, no backstory required. —A. Stein
Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | jcmcilwaine.com
Tinariwen, a collective of musicians, singers and songwriters, was founded in 1979. The original members met in Libyan refugee camps, but the band has been based in Mali since the ’90s. While their sound is different than most that comes from the region—Tinariwen uses drums and electric guitars—as you can imagine, much of the group’s music focuses on exile, politics and repression. Ironically, the 2001 album The Radio Tisdas Sessions was banned in Mali but it earned the band recognition outside the Sahara region for the first time. Their ensuing appearances at international music festivals gained them even more attention. But if you’ve never heard of Tinariwen (above, performing “Amassakoul ’n’ Tenere” and “Chet Boghassa” on Later … with Jools Holland), that’s OK because you can see them on Saturday at Webster Hall.