Watch: Daniel Lanois’ abstract, pastoral ‘Iceland’

Daniel Lanois
Daniel Lanois’ latest album, “Flesh and Machine,” will be released on Oct. 27.
(Margaret Marissen)

Producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Lanois will release his latest solo album, “Flesh and Machine,” on Oct. 27. Pop & Hiss is premiering the video for the instrumental track “Iceland.”

The gently unfurling tune, based on a wandering seven-note melodic motif, is accompanied by film imagery assembled by Jim McKay, who has directed episodes of TV shows including “The Wire,” “Treme” and “Big Love.”




An earlier edition of this post listed the release date of “Flesh and Machine” incorrectly. It is being released Oct. 27.


The film echoes the piece and feel of the ambient music with a single take showing McKay’s daughter moving around a woodsy pastoral environment, her actions accelerating and decelerating in an unusual way.

“The invitation to find or create images to accompany one of Daniel Lanois’ songs was exciting for me,” McKay said in a statement. “I was especially drawn to the track, ‘Iceland,’ firstly because it’s absolutely beautiful but also because of its deceptive simplicity….


“The opening, in particular, felt very much in sync with footage my 13-year-old daughter had been shooting on her aunt’s iPhone using the slo-mo feature,” he said. “For some reason, on playback the footage starts in regular speed and then suddenly ramps into slo-mo. I definitely wanted to incorporate this strange technological glitch into my piece…

“[S]ince my daughter was already connected to my thinking about the piece,” he continued, “I arrived at the concept of marrying this luscious piece of music with an anachronistic dance of sorts - an idyllic spot; a hot, sweaty day; and a teenager whose long limbs, braces, inside-out Taylor Swift T-shirt, and sometimes graceful, sometimes animalistic movements define that time of life and echo the tension present in the song.”

It all worked effectively for Lanois, who said, “The origin of this music was a one-take performance by Brian Blade on drums with me on piano. Jim’s one shot reflects this perfectly. My sound manipulations are then visually echoed by the visual manipulations added to Jim’s work by my colorist friend, Adam Vollick. A sweet little film with a big emotional result.”

The video is one product of a collaboration between Lanois and The Modern School of Film in New York, where, according to a record company announced, “acclaimed filmmakers have been enlisted to create visual works inspired by the new sonic frontier surveyed in ‘Flesh and Machine’.”

Follow @RandyLewis2 on Twitter for pop music coverage

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