Despite ushering that band from obscurity to ubiquity, his best work has been with such older artists as post-Genesis Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young and Willie Nelson, as he gingerly updates and expands their musical palettes.On his best work — Harris’ 1996 album “Wrecking Ball” and Dylan’s 1997 comeback “Time Out of Mind,” for instance — he creates a roominess that generates a natural reverb and evokes a live performance, yet he purposefully upsets the balance between the old and the new, the organic and the synthetic.
There’s a very rhythmic track on the record called “Sioux Lookout.” The toppings are very chantlike, and you don’t know if they’re vocals or orchestral instruments.
I think when we don’t understand the specifics of a language, we still respond to the emotion.
People listen to Tinariwen from Mali and may not understand exactly what they’re saying, but we certainly feel what the singers are feeling.
We refilmed the drawings and assembled them and they’re really beautiful — very simple but colorful and full of wonder.
There’s something very endearing about them, like early Disney animation. That’s one of the things we’ve been showing, and people just love it. Are you thinking visually when you’re writing or recording?
The result is music that sounds placeless and timeless, simultaneously old-fashioned and futuristic.