The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Leonard Ciohen's last studio album (2016)
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby Goldin » Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:58 am

You Want It Darker press conference - 2
https://www.facebook.com/leonardcohen/v ... 201879644/
Many of you enjoyed yesterday's video post of Leonard Cohen discussing his health and remaining consitent with his artistic output. Today's video has Leonard discussing his family, including his son Adam Cohen who produced You Want It Darker, avaible everywhere tomorrow.
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby MarieM » Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:58 pm

Interview with Adam in Vulture. Some interesting points.
http://www.vulture.com/2016/10/leonard- ... album.html

Leonard Cohen’s Son on His Father’s Health and Potential Next Album
By David Marchese
October 21, 2016

Leonard Cohen’s new album, You Want It Darker, arrives under a cloud. Leading up to the album's October 21 release, Cohen's fans were dismayed to learn, in a sweeping New Yorker profile, that the legendary songwriter is ailing and, in his words, “ready to die.” Cohen walked that back a few days later, saying, “I intend to live forever,” but it’s still awfully tempting to hear the album as a valedictory effort. Tempting, but according to Cohen’s son, Adam, who produced the new album, wrong. “Even if the circumstances of my father’s age and health were all some wicked pulling-of-the-heartstrings sentimental bullshit, the truth of the situation is simply that we made an incredible record,” he said.

That’s not to say that You Want It Darker came easy or that the 82-year-old Cohen is in fine fettle. Speaking on the phone from his home in Los Angeles, birds chirping in the background, Cohen the younger elaborated — a little — on his father’s health, his own relationship to a famous muse, and the joy that went into making a not-exactly-joyous album.

Given the stature of your father’s work, did you have any apprehension about helping him make the new album? It wasn’t as if you were stepping into a low-stakes environment.
First of all, I’d given up hope that my father would ever consider me as a collaborator. I felt that he had a certain concern over the appearance of nepotism, that he didn’t want to feel like he was giving preferential treatment to his ne’er-do-well child. In this occidental culture that I live in, for a child to be able to prove to be useful to a parent is such an uncommon thing. It was a lifelong dream to be able to be shoulder-to-shoulder with my father and to be able to show my capacity to demonstrate my worth in the same line of work.

How did it arise that he finally asked you to work with him? Were you frustrated that it took so long?
No, no. It was deeply gratifying. The how it came about is, other than my own position within the family business having risen to the point where I could finally be in the discussion, was that I happen to have introduced him to Patrick Leonard, the producer of my father’s last couple of records. They’d invited me to participate in creative conversations about those projects. Then, with You Want It Darker, there I was sitting on the floor like a coffee boy at the very onset of the record, and when Patrick was unable to continue working on it and my father’s discomfort grew so severe that the project stalled I was asked to take over. I was jubilant about having finally been invited to participate by his side and to have the opportunity to demonstrate my wherewithal.

Can you clarify the state of your father’s health at the moment? That New Yorker story had everyone worried.
He’s 82 and he’s put on some very hard miles. He’s suffered from multiple compression fractures. These are not things that heal very quickly in old folk. It’s safe to say that he’s dealing with failing infrastructure and subsequent pain and discomfort. As for the rest, I’m not interested in conjecture.

Were you following, earlier this year, when the farewell your father sent to his old muse, Marianne Ihlen, the subject of "So Long, Marianne," went viral?
Yes, I saw that.

Does it feel at all strange to know that your father had this iconic relationship with a woman who is not your mother? Or even that he had such a reputation as a ladies man. That seems like it could lead to some conflicting emotions for a son.
Not at all. On the contrary, I was in touch with Marianne. Marianne came to pretty much every show I did in Europe. Well, that’s a gross exaggeration. Marianne often came to my shows and she and I were email correspondents. The affection that my father had for Marianne and the beautiful evidence that he left of their relationship in that memorable song was a treat for me and you alike. In fact, I’ll go one step further: I think “So Long, Marianne” is one of his greatest songs and I never understand why it wasn’t as popular as “Hallelujah.”

I have to ask: As his producer, did you ever give feedback on Leonard Cohen’s lyrics?
My father is not inclined to forensic examination of lyrics. Everyone in his immediate midst knows better than to engage him on the subject. And what songwriter of any era has produced songs that speak for themselves as clearly as Leonard Cohen's songs? Certainly, if you come from his stock and share his lexicon, there is no explanation needed for the intention of a song.

Do you know what you and your father's next projects are?
I don’t know what he and I will do musically. I do know that he’s working on a book of poems already and has in mind to have the next record be an orchestral piece. It will be reprises, as there is on the album, of existing pieces of work orchestrated by the incredibly capable and talented Patrick Leonard.

Was it easy to work with your father? I could imagine the job of a producer being made simpler for someone without a familial connection to worry about.
This whole process, we were riding some mysterious wind, as my father calls it. The standard amount of deliberation that goes into making a record was mercifully light. Although, there was some resistance here or there at times either from me or my father, who of course always had veto power, what characterizes this album was a sense that it was meant to be it was exactly what it is. I say that knowing full well that my father was in acute discomfort. But that, too, benefited the album, in the sense of urgency that informed the whole process. The immobilized condition that he found in himself led to a giant decrease in distractions. So it’s as if all aspects of both his life and mine coalesced to create the most opportune circumstances for a remarkable record to be. There were also moments of joy, where an infirm old man would stand up with his cane and dance in front of the speakers. And there were bouts of laughter when we would listen to a song over and over again as if we were teenagers. This was with help of medical marijuana.
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby Born With The Gift Of A G » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:08 pm

Review in Rolling Stone:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/album ... er-w446058
Review: Leonard Cohen's 'You Want It Darker' Possibly His Darkest LP Yet
Octogenarian lady's man seduces the eternal with grim, spiritual beauty
****
By Will Hermes

On his signature classic, "Hallelujah," Leonard Cohen sang about meeting "the Lord of Song." But on the title track of his new LP, the third in a late-game rally that's been as startlingly brilliant as Bob Dylan's, Cohen takes that imagined reckoning with the Almighty deeper, intoning "Hineni," a Hebrew term for addressing God that translates as "Here I am." The punchline, aside from the title's cheeky challenge – true Cohen fans always want it darker – is that with his cantorial delivery, the famous lady's man makes the phrase sound kinda like "hey, baby." In fact, an unlikely EDM remix of "You Want It Darker," by DJ Paul Kalkbrenner, turns the phrase into a dance-floor chant – more proof of how much modern lifeblood still flows through Cohen's voice after five decades on the job. 

This is Cohen's gift to music lovers: a realistically grim, spiritually radiant and deeply poetic worldview, generally spiked with a romantic thrum and an existential wink. Following a string of records that have each felt like a swan song, You Want It Darker may be Cohen's most haunting LP. At 82, it might also be his last.

"I'm angry and I'm tired all the time," he sings on "Treaty," a stately parlor march to piano and strings that blooms from breakup lament into meditations on the fool's errand of religion. The Brylcreem-scented slow dance "Leaving the Table" similarly flickers between romantic and spiritual resignation, Bill Bottrell's electric guitar and steel fills flickering like mirror-ball beams as the famous rake ruefully insists, "I don't need a lover/The wretched beast is tame" – as sure a sign of the End Times as Arctic melt.

As on Cohen's 2014 Popular Problems, blues define the vibe. But other colors deepen the narrative. The Congregation Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir, who billow across the title track, recall Cohen's Jewish upbringing in Montreal; "Traveling Light" conjures his halcyon years in Greece in the early Sixties with his late muse Marianne Ihlen, the subject of "So Long, Marianne," who died in late July. "Goodnight, my fallen star ..." Cohen sings in a near-whisper amid bouzouki notes, like a man dancing in an empty taverna after closing time.

Like Bowie's Blackstar and Dylan's long goodbye, You Want It Darker is the sound of a master soundtracking his exit, with advice for those left behind. "Steer your way through the ruins of the Altar and the Mall," he sings near the album's end, against a gently bouncing bluegrass fiddle, his son Adam's subtle guitar and Alison Krauss' angelic backing vocals. It's what he's always done, helping the rest of us do the same, as best we can.
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Re: Rolling Stone News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:45 am

Review: Leonard Cohen's 'You Want It Darker' Possibly His Darkest LP Yet

Octogenarian lady's man seduces the eternal with grim, spiritual beauty

4 / 5 | * * * * / * * * * *

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/album ... er-w446058

Image

On his signature classic, "Hallelujah," Leonard Cohen sang about meeting "the Lord of Song." But on the title track of his new LP, the third in a late-game rally that's been as startlingly brilliant as Bob Dylan's, Cohen takes that imagined reckoning with the Almighty deeper, intoning "Hineni," a Hebrew term for addressing God that translates as "Here I am." The punchline, aside from the title's cheeky challenge – true Cohen fans always want it darker – is that with his cantorial delivery, the famous lady's man makes the phrase sound kinda like "hey, baby." In fact, an unlikely EDM remix of "You Want It Darker," by DJ Paul Kalkbrenner, turns the phrase into a dance-floor chant – more proof of how much modern lifeblood still flows through Cohen's voice after five decades on the job.

This is Cohen's gift to music lovers: a realistically grim, spiritually radiant and deeply poetic worldview, generally spiked with a romantic thrum and an existential wink. Following a string of records that have each felt like a swan song, You Want It Darker may be Cohen's most haunting LP. At 82, it might also be his last.

"I'm angry and I'm tired all the time," he sings on "Treaty," a stately parlor march to piano and strings that blooms from breakup lament into meditations on the fool's errand of religion. The Brylcreem-scented slow dance "Leaving the Table" similarly flickers between romantic and spiritual resignation, Bill Bottrell's electric guitar and steel fills flickering like mirror-ball beams as the famous rake ruefully insists, "I don't need a lover/The wretched beast is tame" – as sure a sign of the End Times as Arctic melt.

As on Cohen's 2014 Popular Problems, blues define the vibe. But other colors deepen the narrative. The Congregation Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir, who billow across the title track, recall Cohen's Jewish upbringing in Montreal; "Traveling Light" conjures his halcyon years in Greece in the early Sixties with his late muse Marianne Ihlen, the subject of "So Long, Marianne," who died in late July. "Goodnight, my fallen star ..." Cohen sings in a near-whisper amid bouzouki notes, like a man dancing in an empty taverna after closing time.

Like Bowie's Blackstar and Dylan's long goodbye, You Want It Darker is the sound of a master soundtracking his exit, with advice for those left behind. "Steer your way through the ruins of the Altar and the Mall," he sings near the album's end, against a gently bouncing bluegrass fiddle, his son Adam's subtle guitar and Alison Krauss' angelic backing vocals. It's what he's always done, helping the rest of us do the same, as best we can.

Image
Last edited by Roy on Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby Bennyboy » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:00 pm

The best review I have read so far - really perceptive:

http://uproxx.com/music/leonard-cohen-y ... it-darker/
Leonard Cohen Is Still Vital and Writing Great Songs, So Let’s Stop Trying To Bury Him
Steven Hyden 10.21.16


In the fall of 1970, Leonard Cohen did not want to make another album. As recounted by biographer Sylvie Simmons in I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, Cohen felt depressed in the aftermath of an extensive tour in support of 1969’s Songs From a Room. Not yet an assured performer, Cohen later recalled feeling “a deep, paralyzing anguish” after reading so many negative reviews of his concerts. Now, he just wanted to hole up in a Tennessee cabin with this partner, Suzanne, and lick his wounds.

But Cohen was under contract to Columbia Records, and his producer Bob Johnston made it clear that the record company would not accept two consecutive live albums (per Cohen’s suggestion) in lieu of original material from one of the era’s most acclaimed songwriters. So, Cohen set about work on arguably the grimmest LP of his career, 1971’s Songs of Love and Hate.

“Critics had called Songs From a Room bleak. It wasn’t; it was stark. Songs of Love and Hate was bleak,” Simmons writes. The album concludes with a terrifying ballad called “Joan of Arc,” in which Cohen imagines the famous martyr’s inner monologue as she’s burned alive.

“Myself I long for love and light,” Cohen moans, evoking the flash of fire against Joan’s flesh. “But must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?” For Cohen, Joan of Arc was yet another symbol of life’s ecstatic agony.
I mention this to illustrate a rather obvious point: During the duration of Leonard Cohen’s storied career, his obsessions have scarcely changed. He has long been enraptured by the tragedy of love and the romance of oblivion. Even in the prime of his life, when he was feted by critics and beautiful women alike, Leonard Cohen was a peerless brooder. He has always seemed, as the most publicized pull-quote from Cohen’s recent New Yorker profile stated bluntly, “ready to die.” He didn’t earn the sardonic sobriquet “Laughing Len” for nothing.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Cohen’s 14th studio album, You Want It Darker, is fixated on the same dark subjects. “I didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim,” Cohen intones gravely on the title track. Then, he seems to address God herself. “I’m ready, my lord.” When it comes to hymns exulting man’s capacity for self-immolation, nobody owns that haunted thematic terrain like Leonard Cohen. You Want It Darker renews his claim.

However, given Cohen’s advanced age — he turned 82 last month — You Want It Darker hasn’t been received as just another excellent (or excellently morbid) Leonard Cohen LP. Instead, many seem to regard it as a death-bed confession, praising it as a “graceful exit,” a “bleak masterpiece” (perhaps stark, again, would’ve sufficed), or, wincingly, a work of “deadly certainty.”

This impression of You Want It Darker was helped along by David Remnick’s masterful profile, an expansive and thoughtful piece that was unfortunately boiled down to a partial quote taken out of context. I came to the New Yorker story as I’m sure many people did, via aggregators who portrayed Remnick’s depiction of Cohen as an old, dying lion on his last legs. Fortunately, the actual article is much richer (and funnier) than that.
“I have all my marbles, so far,” Cohen tells Remnick. “I have many resources, some cultivated on a personal level, but circumstantial, too: my daughter and her children live downstairs, and my son lives two blocks down the street. So I am extremely blessed. I have an assistant who is devoted and skillful… So in a certain sense I’ve never had it better.”

How interesting that “I’m ready to die” became the narrative for You Want It Darker, and not “I’ve never had it better.” Cohen’s health apparently has diminished — there are compression fractures in his back, which makes it difficult for him to leave his modest L.A. area home. He recorded You Want It Darker mostly in his living room, emailing files to his son, Adam Cohen, and longtime collaborator, Patrick Leonard, for subtle instrumental shadings.

But, given that he’s a man in his 80s, Leonard Cohen seems to be doing pretty well, especially considering the quality (and quantity) of music he’s created lately. You Want It Darker is his third album in five years, which already makes the ’10s Cohen’s most productive decade since the ’70s. Along with 2012’s Old Ideas and 2014’s Popular Problems, You Want It Darker forms a top-notch late-career trilogy that can stand with the best music of his career.

Even more impressive is that, unlike a lot of his contemporaries, Cohen hasn’t tried to re-create any of his most famous guises, whether it’s the austere folk of his first three albums or the paranoid synth-pop of 1988’s I’m Your Man and 1992’s The Future. Instead, Cohen is making albums he could’ve only conceived at this specific moment in his life, settling into a gently contemplative chamber-gospel groove that complements his battered but still emotive monotone.

In “Leaving the Table,” Cohen adopts the familiar posture of the spurned romantic who gambles on love and loses — a callback perhaps to “The Stranger Song” from 1967’s Songs of Leonard Cohen — prompting him to announce that he’s “Leaving the table / I’m out of the game.” Is Cohen talking about a permanent exit? Perhaps, though those wolfish grunts punctuating the song’s opening verses suggest that Laughing Len hasn’t completely given up on lust. Or, as Cohen purrs in “On The Level,” he’s still “fighting with temptation,” though “a man like me don’t like to see temptation caving in.”

My favorite song on You Want It Darker is “If I Didn’t Have Your Love,” which piles on the metaphors for death, if that’s what you’re looking for. There is an extinguished sun, a cold wind, an endless night, a pile of fallen leaves, flowers made of stone, and a whole world swallowed without a trace. But all of this imagery is ultimately in service of expressing an obsessive infatuation. For those seeking a murder ballad, “If I Didn’t Have Your Love” might sound like a slow suffocation. But the way the song is arranged, with slinky guitar and warm organ fills playing off Cohen’s soulful vocal, communicates something entirely different. “If I Didn’t Have Your Love” is not a murder ballad, it’s the sort of love song that Al Green made famous.

In my view, Cohen seems more comfortable in his own skin, and more assured in his own art, than perhaps he ever has. In 2012, I saw Cohen perform a three-hour show for an adoring audience. He’d come a long way from the fits of stage fright he suffered in the late ’60s — I saw him literally skip onto the stage at the start of the show, like he was Springsteen about to blast off with the E Street Band. Cohen has since had to retire from the road, but his songwriting muse has remained steadfast.

So, why do people keep trying to bury Leonard Cohen? I suspect it’s related to general discomfort with the aging process. Old musicians are no different than old civilians — after a certain age, they tend to get set aside until it’s time to plan their funerals. The Johnny Cash-style “mortality” record has become a cliche for senior-citizen musical icons — we’ve grown accustomed to watching our heroes strip their music down to the barest essentials, sing about their own demises, and then collect our obligatory platitudes before fading into the sunset. I don’t deny that there’s an element of that to You Want It Darker, but it’s not all the album is about, or even the most interesting aspect.

Here’s what matters: Leonard Cohen has made more great albums this decade than almost anybody. He’s not simply winding down; he’s in the midst of another golden age, and You Want It Darker should be celebrated as such. In the meantime, let’s not write his obituary just yet. Instead, give another spin to “It Seemed the Better Way,” in which Cohen pens his own best review: “At first he touched on love / But then he touched on death / It sounded like the truth / It seemed the better way / It sounded like the truth / But it’s not the truth today.”

Steven Hyden is Uproxx’s Cultural Critic and the author of Your Favorite Band is Killing Me and an upcoming book on the rise and fall of classic rock.
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby mary emma » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:05 pm

On Belgian TV today

http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/cultu ... /1.2799310
Interview with video, Sammy Slabbinck who designed the cover.
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby fonteyng » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:20 pm

You can find a belgian review (from my brain) in french here... https://musicallyyourscom.wordpress.com ... -more-zen/
Last edited by fonteyng on Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby cohenadmirer » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:46 pm

Leonard's work resonates
Brighton 1979; Dublin , Manchester june 2008; glasgow, manchester Nov 2008; Liverpool july 2009 ; Barcelona Sept 2009 ;marseille, lille september2010: Ghent August 2012;Barcelona October 2012;Montreal x2 November 2012: 2013; Saint John NB April 2013; Brussels June 2013;Manchester August 2013; Leeds , Birmingham September 2013; Amsterdam September 2013
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby Mistygris » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:00 pm

A nice article, thank you Fonteyng

Just for those who do not understand French, here is the last phrase, which I particularly like and totally agree with !!! :

A moving opus that should be listened to by an open fire with a good vintage (wine); a little nugget that will shine in this season.
London, 1976. Monaco, 2009.
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby fonteyng » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:17 pm

Mistygris wrote:A nice article, thank you Fonteyng

Just for those who do not understand French, here is the last phrase, which I particularly like and totally agree with !!! :

A moving opus that should be listened to by an open fire with a good vintage (wine); a little nugget that will shine in this season.
Thanks mistygirls ... . I Forgot to mention that Was my review
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby Bennyboy » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:24 pm

Another 5 star review to add to the growing pile:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/ ... med-better

The Observer
Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker review – killer couplets over bare bones
5 / 5 stars

The bleak and sparse arrangements of Leonard Cohen’s 14th studio album make his repeated leave-taking all the more exquisite


By Kitty Empire, October 23, 2016

The story goes that it was Leonard Cohen’s son Adam who pressed his father for a back-to-basics album, one where the most magnificent mutter in rock could operate unhindered by Cohen Sr’s taste for flamenco guitar and synths. We may have something as banal as pester power to thank, then, for this exquisite 14th album from the Montreal poet, held by recent Nobel laureate Bob Dylan – gnomic as ever – to be “No 1” to his “zero”.

The facts are these: Cohen is 82 and – after having toured solidly for five-odd years, remaking the fortune he lost to a thieving former business manager – is winding down. These eight and a half songs (the ninth is a reprise) were demoed in Cohen’s home studio; they are most often simply structured and direct. Once Cohen Jr and returning collaborator Pat Leonard (1980s Madonna) had buffed them up, they remain sparsely arranged, and are all the more powerful for it.

A few soulful angels alight on On the Level; some arpeggiating guitar and keening violin sweeten the sadness of Traveling Light. Here are Jewish cantors and Celtic fiddles, but mostly, Cohen’s voice is front and centre: the parchedness of Methuselah often matched by a roué’s playfulness.

This is an album of killer couplets, even the bleakest delivered with a half-smile. Finality is a theme. “I’m leaving the table/I’m outta the game,” growls Cohen on Leaving the Table, as a hollow-bodied guitar prangs lonesomely. The song is actually about the end of a relationship (or many relationships); of the death of a ladies’ man. (“I don’t need a lover,” Cohen rattles, with weary irony, “the wretched beast is tame.”) But the hair stands up on your arms nonetheless at these repeated leave-takings. Cohen’s gimlet-eyed title track doesn’t mess about, either. “Hineni, hineni,” he sings in Hebrew; (“Here I am”) “I’m ready my Lord.” On Traveling Light: “it’s au revoir” – to a lover. As it happens, Cohen has back-pedalled in recent days, when the internet jumped to conclusions about the state of his health: there are more projects in the pipeline.

You Want It Darker could be addressed to fans pining for a return to Cohen’s bleakest songwriting; or a lover, or a higher power. As befits a lifelong spiritual seeker, born into a storied Jewish family, but well versed in scripture and Buddhism, the love songs have religious overtones, and the spiritual passages pack a lover’s passion. Treaty, for instance, seems to beg for a truce between warring lovers, but amid the rueful reminiscing is talk of water and wine, snakes and sin.

On the opposing side is It Seemed the Better Way, perhaps the most sombre song of all, one that tussles with approaches to faith. We did want it darker, it’s true, and Cohen has obliged. “It sounded like the truth/ But it’s not the truth today,” rasps Cohen, quite bitterly.
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby jarkko » Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:27 pm

Tagespiel, Germany
http://m.tagesspiegel.de/kultur/neues-a ... 24626.html
Thanks to Andrea for the link!
Neues Album von Leonard Cohen
Die zwei Arten der Liebe

22.10.2016 20:33 Uhr
von Rüdiger Schaper

Das kann nicht das Ende sein: Leonard Cohen und das neue Album des 82-jährigen Kanadiers, „You Want It Darker“.

Den Hut, den er auf seinen Konzerten immerzu vor seinen Musikern gezogen hat, trägt er auch auf dem Cover seines neuen Albums. Unrasiert, mit getönter Brille schaut der 82-Jährige aus einem weißen Rahmen in einen schwarzen Raum, in der Hand eine Zigarette: „You Want It Darker“. Geht das bei Leonard Cohen überhaupt – noch dunkler?
Leider ja. Im „New Yorker“ erschien kürzlich eine zehnseitige Geschichte über den Sänger, den Dichter, den Komponisten, ein Hausbesuch in Los Angeles. David Remnick, einer der besten Autoren des Magazins, hatte wenig Gutes zu berichten. Cohens Gesundheit verschlechtert sich, ein Konzert wird er wohl nie wieder geben. Er bringe seine Dinge zu Ende, er sei ein ordentlicher Mensch. Cohen erzählt seinem Gast, wie viel Arbeit noch unerledigt sei, und dass er Gedichte und Bücher im Kopf habe. Das klingt nicht wirklich beruhigend. Die Fans waren alarmiert.

Dann taucht er vor zehn Tagen in der Öffentlichkeit auf, spricht über das neue Werk und kündigt neue Alben an. Er habe, wie es seine Art sei, die Sache mit dem Sterben dramatisiert. Er wolle 120 Jahre alt werden. Sein Humor scheint jedenfalls intakt zu sein. Er sagt: Bob Dylan den Nobelpreis zu verleihen, das sei so, als bringe man am Mount Everest eine Plakette an, auf der steht: höchster Berg der Welt.

Ich bin draußen: Die Songs sind finster, sehr finster

Entwarnung also. Bis man dasitzt, das neue Album läuft, und die so lange schon vertraute Stimme das Zwiegespräch beginnt mit jenem höheren Wesen, von dem der alte Poet sich verlassen fühlt. „If you are the dealer/I’m out of the game/If you are the healer/I’m broken and lame.“ Ich bin draußen. Ich habe genug. „You want it darker/We kill the flame.“ Dann blasen wir die Kerze aus. Der Titelsong endet mit „Hineni Hineni/I’m ready, my Lord“. Das hebräische Wort bedeutet „hier bin ich“, Abraham sagt es, als Gott ihm die Opferung seines Sohnes befiehlt; eine der brutalsten Episoden der religiösen Menschheitsgeschichte. Vor Jahrzehnten hat Leonard Cohen darüber einen Song geschrieben: „The Story of Isaac“. Es schließt sich ein Kreis. Gideon Zelermyer, der Kantor der Synagoge in Montreal, die Cohen in seiner Jugend besuchte, begleitet ihn auf „You want it darker“. Und es wird finster.


„I’m out of the game“ wiederholt Cohen in dem Song „Leaving the Table“. Und in „Traveling Light“ sagt er: „It’s au revoir“. Er reist mit leichtem Gepäck. Er sei spät dran, sie machen jetzt zu: „I’m running late/They’ll close bar/I used to play/One mean guitar“. Das sind letzte Worte. Wer jetzt nicht eine Träne aus dem Auge wischt, höre den letzten Track auf dem von seinem Sohn Adam Cohen produzierten Album, eine instrumentale Reprise. „Treaty“ heißt der Song. Der Sänger hätte sich eine Abmachung mit Gott gewünscht, aber der ist ein Geist geblieben, und er ist verschwunden. Nicht da, wenn man ihn braucht.


Die Unterhaltung mit dem Himmel oder der Hölle klingt aus mit einem quälend getragenen Streicherauftritt. Begräbnismusik. Hoffen wir mal, dass der Andere hier zu Grabe getragen wird, derjenige, der den Vertrag verweigert mit dem Sänger. „I wish there was a treaty/Between your love and mine.“

Gibt es eine bitterere Erkenntnis als das? Dass man erkennt: Zwischen göttlicher Liebe und der Liebe der Menschen stellt sich keine Verbindung her. Leonard Cohen hat es in seinen Büchern, mit seinen Platten und magischen Konzertauftritten versucht. Hallelujah! Einmal endete die Grand Tour, das schönste Comeback der Pop-Geschichte. Nach fünfzehn Jahren Abstinenz spielte Cohen von 2008 bis 2013, in der ganzen Welt, 380 Konzerte. Wer ihn in der Waldbühne erlebt hat, mochte sich nicht vor dem Alter fürchten. Cohen gab seiner Karriere, seinen Songs, seinen Versen noch einmal einen Hüftschwung. Es wurde heller, musikalischer. Der schmale, elegante Mann mit Anzug und Hut ging auf die Knie vor seiner Band, voll Rührung und Dankbarkeit.

Cohens "Songs of Love and Hate" war auch schon eine dunkle Platte

Von den großen Tourneen gibt es eine Reihe Live-Alben, die werden jetzt aufgelegt. „Waiting for the Miracle To Come“. Aber es hilft ja nichts. Noch einmal zurück zu „You Want It Darker“ (Columbia/Sony). Beim mehrmaligen Anhören spürt man Trotz und Beharrung in Cohens Vortrag. Leben. Ein cooler Western-Touch liegt auf „Leaving the Table“. Könnte der Abschied von einer geliebten Frau sein, eine Trennung ohne Abrechnung, aus und vorbei, ohne lahme Erklärungen und sinnlose Aussprachen. Das folgende „If I Didn’t Have Your Love“ erzählt vom Gegenteil: Die Welt ist real, weil es dich gibt.

Cohens Stimme, sie hilft immer noch: Die Themen gehen nicht aus

Tatsächlich – man erinnert sich – hat Leonard Cohen schon sehr dunkle Platten aufgenommen. „Songs of Love and Hate“ von 1971 zum Beispiel. Ein Trost ist das nicht. Brüchiger die Stimme heute, schleppender der Sprechgesang, alles in allem. Die Kraft aus der Dunkelheit hat einen anderen Ursprung. Cohen spricht, wenn nicht mit sich selbst, mit einem Gott, in dessen Natur und Kultur es liegt, bezweifelt zu werden. Das ist ein hohes zivilisatorisches Gut. Es gibt genug Gegenden und Staaten auf der Welt, in denen es verboten ist, bei Todesstrafe, mit Gott ein klares Wort zu sprechen. Glaubensfreiheit gehört zur Menschenwürde.

Früher war Leonard Cohen eine Stimme, die half, etwas so Irres wie Jugend und Sex zu begreifen. Jetzt sind wir alle ein Stückchen weiter. Die Themen gehen nicht aus.
1988, 1993: Helsinki||2008: Manchester|Oslo|London O2|Berlin|Helsinki|London RAH|| 2009: New York Beacon|Berlin|Venice|Barcelona|Las Vegas|San José||2010: Salzburg|Helsinki|Gent|Bratislava|Las Vegas|| 2012: Gent|Helsinki|Verona|| 2013: New York|Pula|Oslo|||
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby jarkko » Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:41 pm

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/cultu ... -00tc2sx9n
Thanks to Bea for the hint!
Leonard Cohen: Hey, that’s some way to say goodbye
He might have said he was ready to go, but the singer’s extraordinary new album looks to have brought about a change of heart. He’s sticking around


Dan Cairns
October 23 2016, 12:01am, 
The Sunday Times


In a large, sun-dappled garden in the leafy, deep-lawned Los Angeles district of Hancock Park, the atmosphere has that air of LA perfection that makes you immediately suspicious. It’s early evening in mid-October, yet you could comfortably be in shorts and a T-shirt, and plunge into the Canadian consul’s Hockney-perfect pool without nether-region trauma. An open-air bar dispenses cocktails, beer, single malt, fine wine. Guests either air-kiss in a brittle sort of way or mingle, then part, with unease.

There is no music, but if there were, the setting would inspire you to cue up Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Carole King, maybe some early Eagles. But definitely, emphatically not Leonard Cohen. Spare, morose, introspective, mordant baritone balladry has no part to play here. Yet we are, to paraphrase Lou Reed, waiting for that very man. It’s incongruous, to say the least.

The anxiety of expectation means the party never quite achieves lift-off. Behind us, through french windows, a ballroom with row upon row of functional, rapidly assembled plastic seating is visible, ready for a playback of Cohen’s new album and his Q&A with a motley crew of international journalists, all eyeing one another warily. Someone says (not to me): “Leonard would be fine if you come visit. You know how we run the green room. Nobody comes back.”

Which is further incongruity. Bob Dylan with his Nobel prize, Bieber, Taylor, Madonna, Jagger? All have battalions of security, you imagine. But this is Leonard Cohen in an inner sanctum — an octogenarian Canadian whose work is, bar Dylan’s, many millions of miles away from those glitzy names and the company they keep.

But let’s be charitable. The ring of steel around him seems to exist because the 82-year-old is frail (his hand shakes as we talk), and his willingness to discuss or dissect his work, both historic and recent, is now, for the most part, limited to the point of parsimony. A face-to-face interview is dangled, before disappearing in a puff of PR speak. Emailed questions are invited, and off they go. The answers that ping back to me are terse, weary, barely usable. Cohen is guarded in both senses of the word, because he is a poet, functioning, fecund, inquisitive, but also because he is fragile, unsteady and needs a degree of genuine protection. And he is, if you believe some — trust me, don’t believe it all — of what he says, about done with the game. Almost. Maybe. Not quite.

Dapper though he is, in a three-piece suit, topped with the ever-present fedora, Cohen presents a picture of fading health: stooped, shrunken, clutching his walking stick. Watch his eyes, though, and the years fall away. When you put a question to him, they sparkle with mischief, even as you observe the shutters going up. Five decades in the business mean there are no exposed flanks: he can see you coming a mile off. Ask him his view on people’s insistence on describing him as the epitome of the tortured artist (he spent years working on Hallelujah, writing more than 80 verses for it before whittling them down) and he swats the query away. As we speak, he says: “There are human beings being tortured. Let us not trivialise the unspeakable horror by adding songwriting to that category.”

At one point on You Want It Darker, the 14th studio album Cohen has made in his 50-year career, he sings: “I’m leaving the table, I’m out of the game.” The gone-viral quote from an extensive New Yorker profile — “I am ready to die” — hangs heavy and buttresses that lyric’s sentiment. With characteristic waspishness (and contrariness), Cohen scythes through this: “I said I was ready to die. I think I was exaggerating. One is given to self-dramatisation from time to time. I intend to live for ever.” And they say Dylan is gnomic.

In part, you sense this is a natural response to the sifting his work has been subjected to. As in, I’ve done the heavy lifting by writing this stuff; you can’t expect me to talk about it too.

The contrastingly affable and loquacious producer and songwriter Patrick Leonard, who co-wrote many of Madonna’s biggest hits during her 1980s/1990s pomp and has returned to work with Cohen for the third time on You Want It Darker, thinks that’s understandable. “Look, people wanted to intellectualise Madonna records, too. I mean, hello? If they even knew. But people will always try. You know, ‘This is about this.’ Hmm... Kind of. Look, it’s song by song, until you can go, ‘Thank God we got a body of work together.’ If artists can’t figure it out, why do we think we can? You give up everything you have to be good at it. It’s a daily grind in search of the lost chord. Forever. There’s no end, and you never win. And you make the choice knowing those are the rules.”

Cohen’s son, Adam, a songwriter in his own right, produced the new album, which was recorded in his father’s nearby home. Cohen Sr says it would never have been made without his son’s constant cajoling. Adam, a spit for his father, with a speaking voice to match, seems similarly amused, to the point of mild contempt, by the ceaseless analysis of his father’s methods and motives.

“To you, there’s the man and there’s the writer. But I only knew one thing. There weren’t two doors — through door A is my father, through door B Leonard Cohen the writer. There was only one door. A package deal. I’ve only known the guy who was always writing, who was always up before us. I’d come and find him in his underwear, strumming a guitar. I heard Hallelujah before it was a song. I heard many of them, in various permutations. He’s sweating over every syllable. These songs are the end result of a lifetime pursuit of the exactitude of language. And they communicate frightening and personal truths.” Again, you sense the unsaid payoff: isn’t that enough?

Cohen’s notoriously pared-back domestic arrangements — his apartment is bare of anything but the essentials, and he adopts a similar approach to his clothes — long preceded his decision to move, in 1994, to a Zen monastery in California, where he was ordained as a monk. It is a regimen that dates back to his adolescence and was carried over to the Greek island of Hydra, where he lived in the 1960s and fell in love with Marianne Ihlen, who would inspire three of his greatest songs: Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye; Bird on the Wire; and, of course, So Long, Marianne. Their relationship lasted the best part of a decade.
This summer, it had a moving coda. When Cohen learnt that Ihlen was dying from cancer, he contacted her at once. “Well, Marianne,” he wrote, “it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.” Two days after Cohen sent those words, Ihlen died, having been read his letter.

Last rites, final acts. Cohen’s career has involved its own codas. When, in 2004, his longtime manager was found to have embezzled his savings, the resulting mess led, four years later, to his returning to the live stage. If that move was dictated initially by financial concerns, it took on a wonderful artistic integrity, as the singer toured the world for almost three years, shrinking packed arenas with marathon performances that had the atmosphere of a club gig.

At the same time, his recording career hit an unlikely new purple patch: two new albums, Old Ideas and Popular Problems, mined familiar Cohen themes of mortality, lust, spirituality and loss, but did so with an air of stocktaking that suggested Cohen was approaching his ninth decade with acceptance and humility (and, noticeably, a strong dose of droll self-mockery). That process continues on You Want It Darker, which ranks up there with his greatest albums, an extraordinary achievement. In a weary, husky, up-close voice, sometimes no louder than a whisper, Cohen confronts those frightening and personal truths to bluesy backing that is appropriately hushed and sepulchral. It is as if the myth of Leonard Cohen is being slowly dismantled, much as his possessions become fewer and fewer.

“I never got wise to that fictional character,” the man himself says. “And nothing in this racket makes any sense to me, to tell you the truth. Everybody has a kind of magical system they employ in the hope that this will open up the channels. My mind was always very cluttered, so I took great pains to simplify my environment, because if my environment were half as cluttered as my mind, I wouldn’t be able to make it from room to room.”

Cohen’s humour is as sharp as ever. “Laughing Len”, the “merchant of gloom” and those other slightly snarky epithets clearly don’t bother him, but that doesn’t stop him quipping: “All those bastards are going to pay for it.” I ask him if he still paints self-portraits, which he was known to have done on a daily basis. “I might get back to it when my hands stop shaking.” Inevitably, Dylan’s Nobel prize comes up. Cohen’s response to it is a classic of its kind. For him, “it is like pinning a medal on Mount Everest for being the highest mountain”. Read that again. And again. I know, right?

You keep coming back to those eyes. When he is introduced to the current cantor of the Montreal synagogue he attended as a child, Cohen takes in the man’s shiny, slightly bouncy countenance and jarringly unlikely co-respondent shoes, and you can almost hear his brain filing the details away. The cantor and his choir perform on the new album (though this is the first time he and Cohen have met), including the title track, on which Cohen sings “Hineni, Hineni”, Hebrew for “Here I am” — “I’m ready, my Lord.”

This linking of a thread back to the faith and music of his childhood, combined with the lyrics’ implication of imminent death, put further wind in the sails of Cohen’s “I am ready to die” quote. On the significance of the cantor’s involvement, he comments: “I’ve never thought of myself as a religious person. I don’t have any spiritual strategy, I kind of limp along, like so many of us do in these realms.” And, discussing the lyrics, he says: “This is a vocabulary that I grew up with, and it’s natural that I use those landmarks as references. Once, they were universal references and everybody understood them. That’s no longer the case today, but it’s still my landscape.”

The new album closes with a reprise of the song Treaty, arranged for a chamber orchestra by Cohen. Talking about this, deliberately or accidentally, he reveals that his recording career may not be over after all. “I hope we can come up with something orchestral, with some spoken material. And I also, God willing, hope that perhaps another record of songs might emerge, but one never knows.”

Adam recalls a conversation he had with his father during the sessions. “You listen to the songs, and this guy is whispering in your ear. These feelings that are hard-wired into his heart and mind, he’s communicating them with masterful ease. I asked him, ‘What is creating this?’ And he said, ‘It’s so simple. I’m trapped, I’m in captivity, with such diminished distractions. I have nothing in this project other than you getting me out of bed in the morning.’”

With an impish smile, and one last look at the cantor’s shoes, Cohen makes his farewell. “I hope we can do this again,” he says. Then: “I intend to stick around until I’m 120.” Someone give the man a medal.
1988, 1993: Helsinki||2008: Manchester|Oslo|London O2|Berlin|Helsinki|London RAH|| 2009: New York Beacon|Berlin|Venice|Barcelona|Las Vegas|San José||2010: Salzburg|Helsinki|Gent|Bratislava|Las Vegas|| 2012: Gent|Helsinki|Verona|| 2013: New York|Pula|Oslo|||
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby jarkko » Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:21 pm

Image
The Sunday Times (Culture), UK, October 23.
Scanned by Jim Devlin
(The article is in the previous post)


Leonard on the cover of magazines - looking forward to new covers!!

If you see a magazine with Leonard on the cover, please contribute to the Gallery of Magazines.
We have four Gallery pages on the LC Files:

Magazines from 1960's and 70's at http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/maggallery.html
Magazines from 1980's and 90's at http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/maggallery2.html
Magazines from 2000-2009 at http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/maggallery3.html
Magazines from 2010- at http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/maggallery4.html

Looking forward to new entries to the 4th page (and to older pages, too, if you find a new cover we don't have!).
A Mag cover qualifies to the Gallery if more than 50 % of it is dedicated to Leonard (text & photos included).
Check one of the existing galleries to see what other information we need.
You can post the info in this thread or send me by email. (If you cannot copy or scan the cover, send the details!)

Jarkko
1988, 1993: Helsinki||2008: Manchester|Oslo|London O2|Berlin|Helsinki|London RAH|| 2009: New York Beacon|Berlin|Venice|Barcelona|Las Vegas|San José||2010: Salzburg|Helsinki|Gent|Bratislava|Las Vegas|| 2012: Gent|Helsinki|Verona|| 2013: New York|Pula|Oslo|||
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Re: The Darker album: Interviews and reviews in the media

Postby Karren B » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:26 pm

Joy versus Pain: Adam Cohen interview about working with his father.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/schedule-for- ... -1.3818479
'Being ‘normal’ is not necessarily a virtue; it rather denotes a lack of courage!'

'Loving you is the most exquisite form of self destruction'...

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