Devoted fans of producer-performer Daniel Lanois might enjoy the welcome-to-my-studio tour “Here Is What Is,” which he co-directed with Adam Vollick and Adam Samuels. Anyone else, though, is likely to find this an interminable vanity project whose subject proves an inarticulate guide to his own creative process. Crudely shot glimpses of U2, Aaron Neville, Sinead O’Connor and others at work provide just a modest boost to a pic destined for modest DVD release.
Lanois has lent a distinctive touch to other’s records, creating a dense, ethereal character via his pedal-steel guitar and experimentally layered mixing. His own music takes this atmospheric style to its logical end, though the songs tend to blur together. He’s not the best explicator (“I just kinda got hooked into doin’ cool things with sound”) of his methods, providing little insight into his work with famous folk (Dylan, Peter Gabriel, etc.). Longtime collaborator Brian Eno proves contrastingly down-to-earth and cogent in several tete-a-tetes. Beyond capturing some impressive musicianship (notably from innovative drummer Brian Blade), this deliberately low-grade presentation is a chore to watch, unalleviated by solarized-color bits and gratuitous dance interludes.