Young and Lanois have crossed paths musically over the course of many years, including Lanois' performances at Young's Bridge School Benefit Concert and Young's performance at Farm Aid when Lanois was Willie Nelson's music director, but this is the first time the two have recorded together. Recorded in Lanois' home in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles, ‘Le Noise’ features Young on acoustic and electric guitars with Lanois adding his trademark sonic textures, creating one of the most sonically arresting albums Young has ever recorded. No band, no overdubs, just ‘a man on a stool and me doing a nice job on the recording,’ as Lanois puts it.
‘Neil was so appreciative of the sonics that we presented to him,’ Lanois says. ‘He walked in the door and I put an acoustic guitar into his hands - one that I had been working on to build a new sound. That's the multi-layered acoustic sound that you hear on the songs 'Love and War' and 'Peaceful Valley Boulevard.' I wanted him to understand that I've spent years dedicated to the sonics in my home and that I wanted to give him something he'd never heard before. He picked up that instrument, which had everything - an acoustic sound, electronica, bass sounds - and he knew as soon as he played it that we had taken the acoustic guitar to a new level. It's hard to come up with a new sound at the back end of 50 years of rock and roll, but I think we did it.’