@U2 reader Chris Miland attended the premiere of Daniel Lanois’ new film, Here Is What Is, at the Toronto Film Festival on Sunday night. Chris was kind enough to write us a terrific review of the film, including the all-important info. about U2′s cameo in the film. Read on!
Here Is What Is
Truth is Beauty, Beauty Truth – John Keats
Sunday, September 9 marked the premiere of the film Here is What Is, co-directed by Daniel Lanois, Adam Vollick, and Adam Samuels.
The film is not a lesson in recording and producing; rather, it is about finding that the beauty in music, art — even the simplest things — comes from nothing or, as Brian Eno succinctly puts it: “sh*#”. Lanois is the principle in the film and it looks into how he works, and attempts to demystify the recording process. At the same time it gives a little more insight into the man himself.
Footage — shot mainly in Toronto and Los Angeles studios, with sojourns to Shreveport, Louisiana and Morocco — features Lanois’ music and the many artists Lanois has worked with over the years, all of who are credited during the course of the film (kudos, Dan). The film opens with a captivating four-minute piano performance from The Band’s Garth Hudson. Emmy-Lou Harris, Willies Nelson and Sinead O’Connor also appear. And there is a very humorous scene when Billy Bob Thornton drops in.
For U2 fans looking for new music, the band appears briefly about 2/3 the way through the movie, at first serenading Eno and then in the midst of recording a new song. This glimpse is less than a minute long, but it is a guitar-driven rock tune. As the man would say, “The Edge is on fire” and “it may be the best songs yet.”
The film draws attention to his relationships with the two Brians: Blade and Eno. Brian Blade, the preacher’s son, brings intuitiveness to the mix: he seem to understand Dan’s very animated description of how drums should sound for a particular song — without laughing like most of the audience did!
And if Brian Blade is the heart, Brian Eno is the mind. A self-confessed atheist, Eno is a philosopher. To illustrate a theory on how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, he uses a piece of fabric in a Moroccan market; he waxes eloquently on the strands, their combinations, colour, contrast, texture and changes in the light. The irony is… just go see the movie.
For techies and non-techies alike, the highlight of the film is watching Dan “play” the mixing console, manipulating knobs and sliders as if they were another instrument in the studio. He works like a weaver using strands of sounds, moving in and out, bringing them to the forefront and then sending them back again.
All in all, the movie is a must for Lanois fans and interesting for U2 fans curious to see behind the scenes workings of the band’s friend, mentor and producer.
The film is scheduled to be released to coincide with Lanois’ upcoming album release and tour. View the trailers at www.daniellanois.com or, if in Toronto, there are two more screenings – visit www.tiff07.ca for details.
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