Monday, November 06, 2006

Sharon Robinson Produces Masterpiece

This woman has a beautiful voice. Who is she? The cover says Leonard Cohen. Her name is Sharon Robinson and, along with Cohen's deep big voice, creates an ecstasy for the ears.

First I have to say I've listened to this CD probably non-stop since I downloaded it after a craniosacral teacher of mine was really into it and played it to the whole class. The song about the flecks of dust coming into the room. Showing up in the sunlight. Really a great song. She told us he had been studying with Sazaki Rochi and ever since then his tone has changed.

Well, in this particular song he fondly teases his Buddhist teacher, Rochi, who would be explaining something and often say, "Let me see if I can say this in a different way" and then would proceed to say it exactly the same way. So, it's very sweet in the song when Cohen does this in the song, "Let me say it again. Love went on and on." and then again. "Let me say it again (in a different way) Love went on and on" saying it the same way. It's an awesome song. I've listened to this over and over. Probably "My Secret Life" has grabbed me a lot too--I won't go into why :). But every song has something. I agree it's a masterpiece.

What does it mean in 2006 in the United States to be a white person and decide to really back your friends and colleagues of color. I think that at this time in history it makes sense to do things like make sure a black woman is not "helping out" a white man by being in his picture and co-writing songs but not really having her name front and center.

Okay, so here's my idea. If Cohen is spending all his time in a monastary meditating why not meditate on this. Have Sharon's name on front and his name on the inside instead. Reverse the roles.

I don't know Sharon and I think she would need to be consulted on this. And the fans who look for Leonard Cohen would definitely hear about his new album even though his name is not on the front.

Where has Leonard Cohen been for the past nine years? The legendary songwriter's mostly been in a Zen monastery, it turns out, obsessively rewriting and polishing the oblique, lapidary lyrics for this austere collection. Ten New Songs is arguably Sharon Robinson's record as much as Cohen's--she cowrote all the songs, plays most of the instruments (primarily a synth that seems to have freshly emerged from a chintzy 1984 power ballad), and accompanies Cohen's gloomy croak with her own crooning. This is the most subdued album Cohen's ever made, which is saying something. It's as if he no longer has time for anything in music or performance that could alter the meaning and force of his words. --Douglas Wolk

Ten New Songs(Sony Canada) is a masterpiece. An aural miracle, the disc's an utterly irresistible breath of fresh ear from a pair of the world's leading unsung seers. It's an exquisite secular benediction jam-crammed with quotidian psalms, salutary anthems, consuetudinary hymns, and arie melodiose cantante a due voci nello stile del crooner lucertole di salotto expressing the inexpressible to the Nth degree of dramatic intensity and compressed musicality.

Individually, Robinson and Cohen are awesome; together, they are sublime. Arguably one of the finest recorded performances in existence, the retro-deco duet-set comprising the elegiac song cycle, Ten New Songs, is wholly and fully their masterpiece worthy of the distinctive honour such a designation implicitly confers.

Well, what a beautiful album. I love it.


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