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Daniel Lanois: 'Opera'

When I grow up, I want to be Daniel Lanois. It's not just that he's hands-down one of the world's greatest music producers, or that he's a gifted musician and pioneer of ambient music. It's that at (a still young) 62, with four decades of groundbreaking albums behind him, he remains such a badass in the studio, always restless and reaching for new sounds and ideas.

You get a pretty thrilling glimpse into Lanois' personal workspace — and his creative spirit — in this cool new video for his song "Opera," a cut from his upcoming solo album Flesh And Machine. Shot live at Lanois' home in Los Angeles, Calif., the video shows Lanois rehearsing a live mix of the song. Standing at a console, he triggers and tweaks various samples with help from co-engineer and producer Alex Krispin. Kyle Crane of the band Everest is the drummer.

At a glorious seven-and-a-half minutes, this live version of "Opera" is more than twice as long as it is on the actual album. Like the other cuts on Flesh And Machine, it's built out of layers of samples, recorded snippets and heavily processed instruments. "Opera" is dark and glossy, full of drama, with a brilliant build to it that grows more and more chaotic. Lanois says he wanted to make the year's best headphones album. If "Opera" is any indication, he may have pulled it off.

Flesh And Machine is due out Oct. 28 on Anti.

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Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.