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Reuters OCTOBER 26, 2009 - by Alex Dobuzinskis
U2 TOOK 'UNFORGETTABLE' TRIP TO CASTLE FOR '84 ALBUM
When U2 producer Danny Lanois and the band made "The Unforgettable Fire" in 1984, they recorded it at an Irish castle because they wanted a place with history, which Lanois said suited him just fine.
The album, which will be re-released on Tuesday in a remastered twenty-fifth anniversary edition, marked the first time U2 worked with Brian Eno and Lanois, two producers who would collaborate with the band several times more, and not always in a conventional studio setting.
Before arriving at Ireland's Slane Castle, an eighteenth century structure overlooking the River Boyne, the Canadian-born Lanois had recorded in unusual places and he was ready to lend that expertise to U2 and its singer Bono.
"Bono was looking for a different kind of location, a building that had ghosts in the walls and some kind of a sense of history," Lanois told Reuters. "So that we weren't just in an empty modern warehouse, that we were actually feeling the presence of goings-on from the past," he said.
Over the years, the multi-instrumentalist Lanois has worked everywhere from an excavated Mexican mountaintop to a Victorian mansion in New Orleans, and he said he likes to record in unusual settings because it fosters creativity.
For U2's latest album, the current No Line On The Horizon, the pair helped produce sessions in a Moroccan "riad," an interior garden open to the sky.
"We enter a location with a sound in mind," Lanois said.
In the case of The Unforgettable Fire, Lanois initially thought Slane Castle's ballroom would be an ideal place to record but found it was too large. So, the band moved to a library where they were surrounded by books, which was more compact and offered better sound quality.
In the end, Lanois found that having the entire band living in the castle together during the recording helped foster a certain camaraderie. "The best part of it is that everyone was living there," (in the castle), Lanois said.
"In the end, the dedication and the commitment that took us to the locale is probably the thing that's going to get under people's skins," he said.
The Unforgettable Fire featured the hit single Pride (In The Name Of Love) and other songs like Bad and A Sort Of Homecoming. The re-released version out Tuesday will include two previously unheard tracks from the Slane Castle sessions, Yoshino Blossom and Disappearing Act.