Exclaim!'s Top 10 Improv & Avant-Garde Albums Best of 2016



 
Daniel Lanois
Goodbye to Language
(Anti-)
 
In a sense, Daniel Lanois's subtle stamp makes an uncredited appearance on most modern music. His early explorations of tone and atmosphere in record production, as a collaborator with Brian Eno and on his own, have guided musicians and producers in their attempts to infuse songs with a sense of mysterious place.
 
This year brought us stellar guitar-based instrumental records, including Modern Country by William Tyler and Into the Light by Marisa Anderson, and each owe something (an audience even) to Lanois's efforts to further such sounds. His own Goodbye to Language features intermingling pedal and lap steel guitars and almost nothing else. Country and western instruments keeping up with technology and a modern world, Lanois manipulates their haunting eruptions and creates these stirring, off-kilter, rubbery soundscapes.
 
Eyes closed, headphones on, Goodbye to Language is truly transporting — a document filled with echoes of the past and reverberating whirring from the always uncertain future.
Vish Khanna