On the surface not much unites rock producer Daniel Lanois and breakcore’s enfant terrible Venetian Snares, apart from mutual admiration and Canadian heritage, but this hasn’t stopped them from recording a joint album that plays to both of their strengths.
The collaborative formula is fairly simple: Lanois’ processed steel pedal guitar creates an ambient backdrop for the Snares’ hyperactive drumwork, which sounds like a continuation of the glitchy style first explored in 2004’s Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding.
There are a variety of moods though, as Mothors Pressroll P131 turns up the distortion for a noisy burst of energy, while the beatless Ophelius 1Stp118 closes the album with a calm comedown.
The soundclash generally works best over longer periods, like in the nearly 10 minute long United P92, where Snares’ frenetic 7/4 groove works up a lather of metallic pings and acidic squeals, and Night Mxcmpv1 P74, which is the best showcase of Lanois’ cerebral atmospherics on the album.
Because of this the brevity of Venetian Snares X Daniel Lanois is a tad disappointing, as several of these tracks could have been extended. It is, however, a surprisingly cohesive listen and the sound design is at a typically high standard for both artists.
Lanois and Snares are an unorthodox pairing, and the former’s fans may have mixed reactions to the latter’s noisy beats, but they complement each other well, and what could have been just a niche curiosity is instead a real treat.