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Old 02-07-2009, 10:43 AM   #1
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U2.com - Songwriting in Morocco (article about NLOTH)

Forgive me if this has already been posted, but U2.com posted a new article about the beginning of the songwriting process for NLOTH, in Fez with Brian and Danny. It apparently is the first part of a series, that should be interesting-ish, even if the first one didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know.

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Songwriting in Morocco

In the summer of 2007, U2.Com visited Morocco to meet up with Brian Eno, Danny Lanois and U2 in the early stages of writing the new album. Sometimes, explained Larry, in the first of our interviews, you just have to get away in order to write the songs.

A large white articulated lorry has been parked inconspicuously in the middle of Fez for the last couple of weeks. It almost completely obscures the traditional Moroccan riad behind it. There is no-one on duty at the open doorway behind it, but wander into the cool interior, down a small spiral staircase and you find yourself in a big, marble-pillared atrium which you discover, to your surprise, has been temporarily remade as a rock’n’roll recording studio.

Next to one pillar is the unmistakeable figure of Brian Eno, wearing a blue, short-sleeved summer shirt, and peering into his Mac Powerbook. The wide brim of a lurid green parasol hangs over his desk, protecting him from the mid-day sun, streaming through the open roof onto this unexpected recording space U2 have created in North Africa.

Eno isn’t here to produce a record, but to collaborate on writing new songs. He is one of six musicians, forming a wide circle around the atrium floor. Next to him, moving clockwise, Larry Mullen is at his kit rehearsing a new beat. Further along is Adam Clayton, plucking a familiar-looking, battered green bass guitar. Next up, in a brown, peaked cap and playing a steel-stringed guitar, is Daniel Lanois. Assorted technicians, all well-known faces in the U2 entourage, move in and around the circle, including Dallas Schoo, Edge’s long-time tech, who is tuning the guitar that Edge will pick up next. Next to him, sitting on a velvet settee, surrounded by books, Bono is scribbling out lyrical ideas.

‘Brian ?’ asks Danny Lanois. ‘Can we hear that track from last night again ?’

‘Number one or number two?’ replies Eno, as a break in the music reveals the melody of birds in the eaves of the house.

‘The birds are perking up,’ says Eno. ‘They’ve been extremely stern critics during our stay!’

That U2 are songwriting in this ancient city, the place they first visited to shoot the Mysterious Ways video in 1991, has remained largely a secret to the local community. Eno and Lanois, working together with the band on an extended period for the first time since the ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ sessions in 2000, arrive unnoticed each morning about an hour before the band. They use the time to listen back to ideas they came up with the day before – and in sessions earlier this year. These two weeks are the third and fourth in which the six musicians have been songwriting.

‘It’s a pretty interesting place to have a recording studio, don’t you think?’ asks Bono.

And pretty creative, adds Larry. ‘We’ve been coming up with two or three ideas a day I guess,’ he explains. ‘It started in France when they came down to write with us a couple of months back and it will probably continue later in the year.

‘It’s the first time we’ve worked with Brian and Dan in a purely songwriting capacity so it’s very different, quite experimental and kind of liberating because of that…’

‘Let’s all come in on Larry this time, from the intro…’ comes the voice from under the parasol, calling everyone back to the music. The song gets underway with Eno throwing gentle instructions across the circle: ‘Verse, verse, chorus…’

One track they’ve been working up sounds like a soul song with distinctly Arabic rhythms. Another is an epic story-telling piece which seems to run for seven or eight minutes. This time, as the music stops, the birdsong is in competition with a local muezzin, calling the people of Fez to prayer.

‘It’s kinda nice to bathe in making music like this,’ explains Larry. ‘Normally we have to get a song finished but here we’re going through lots of different ideas, finishing out some, getting them to a certain point and then leaving it to see what might happen…’
At this stage, he says, no-one knows what will happen to the work – which is partly why it is so enjoyable. And the exotic location brings its own spirit to the music.
‘It happens wherever you are. If you’re in France or Dublin, you pick up what’s in the atmosphere. Fez might seem a strange choice but sometimes, to write the songs, you just have to get away from all the things that interrupt your day.’
Some days local musicians, percussionists and fiddlers, are also in the house, adding to the songwriting mix. And elements of the music are being informed by the distinct Arabic music scale.
‘They don’t do 4/4,” says Larry. ‘They work in 5/4 and 6/8 and 3/4. They work in very complex rhythms so it’s very interesting for us to be a part of. It’s definitely a learning curve for us…”

More from Fez coming up.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:07 AM   #2
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That was kind of pointless.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:07 AM   #3
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I loved that article. It was a story.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:08 AM   #4
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It was a good read.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:13 AM   #5
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That was kind of pointless.
Mr Negative thinks it's pointless. What a surprise.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:14 AM   #6
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Mr Negative thinks it's pointless. What a surprise.
exactly
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:18 AM   #7
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Isn't this just a reposting by U2.com of an old article?
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:19 AM   #8
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Really. Shart perhaps sometimes it just best not to respond. Your posts have been pretty rude lately.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:19 AM   #9
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It's been up about a week and I had noticed it was a repost of an old article.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:20 AM   #10
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Really. Shart perhaps sometimes it just best not to respond. Your posts have been pretty rude lately.
HA!


lately?
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:24 AM   #11
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yeah it's from 2007, just sort of looking back on how the new album was shaping up then so.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:24 AM   #12
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Ahh, I didn't realize that.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:32 AM   #13
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In that case I'm going to go ahead and close this, as some may think its new news.

You can do a search in this forum for "morocco" and it pulls up a lot of older info.
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