I think both of us were working at the top of our form. Collaboration is too formal a term to describe the activity, which was an expression of some kind of deep mutuality – some kind of marriage of purpose.
Leonard Cohen on working
with Anjani on Blue Alert
Note: Originally posted May 27, 2007 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Cohen – with a dash of honey is a straight-forward feature story by Neil McCormick, published in the May 26, 2007 issue of The Telegraph, that focuses on the relationship and mutual musical efforts of Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas.
The tale of the creation of Blue Alert is well written and informative. The following excerpts are representative (the quotation included in the first excerpt is by Anjani):
The melancholic ballad Never Got to Love You is made up of unused verses from Cohen’s apocalyptic drinking classic Closing Time (from 1992’s The Future). “He gave me sheets of them and I just took ones I liked, and sometimes I took two lines from one verse and two lines from another, and designated one as the chorus and pieced it together.”
“What I strove for was an airtight marriage between music and lyrics,” says Anjani. “I hope I didn’t interpret. I didn’t want you to be driven out of your realm of attention by the voice, which is why there aren’t vocal flourishes. The lyrics are so great, they don’t need embellishment.” She was aided in this by Cohen, who produced the album. “I was cut off from all the tools I have by Leonard. He said ‘Sing… but don’t.’ “
As a bonus, there is timely news about the upcoming Leonard Cohen album:1
Cohen has been working on his own album (released later this year), and admirers will be pleased to hear that he has responded to Anjani’s more organic recording methods, abandoning the synths and drum machines of recent years to return to the joys of real instrumentation: “He has picked up the guitar again, and swung around to the idea of bringing in people to play.”
Update 30 April 2016: That studio album to be “released later this year ” was a tad tardy in appearing. The Old Ideas album was released January 2012.
The entire Telegraph article is well worth reading and can be found at Cohen – with a dash of honey
- Well, it was “timely news” when this was posted on May 27, 2007 [↩]