Wednesday, June 19, 2013

To Really Connect With Others (You Must Be Plugged In)

"You can stick your little pins in that voodoo doll 
Sorry, Baby - doesn't look like me at all 
I'm standing by the window, where the light is strong 
They don't let a woman kill you, not in The Tower Of Song"
Ain't that the truth? For an old Buddhist, Leonard Cohen is plenty cool. This gracious old man is still telling it like it is, gently, and with a tip of the hat, no matter how dark the tale becomes. A few years ago, while he was in an ashram or something, his manager decided he was a push-over and took him him for everything. After a long wait, LC took him to court and beat his ass but good. 

 Other than marriage, it doesn't get much tighter than the artist/manager relationship - that shit HURT - and I was proud of Cohen for fighting like it. 

 Above, he's getting cute with the audience, introducing his Technics keyboard's lush tones with, "You've probably never seen one of these, it plays by itself,..." That references what I said a few posts back, about how music is made now vs. how people think it's done. More:

 Sure, a Technics keyboard is essentially an electronic player piano, but just like a player piano can't play "by itself" without the roll (the spooled paper indicating what notes are struck) and the tempo being set (telling the motor at what speed to run) the electronic version can't play "by itself" without that information, and much more, being previously programmed into it. That's where it gets interesting:  

Just before the 3:00 point, we see Cohen playing a short solo, live. BUT - if the keyboard "plays by itself" - did he really play a "live" solo or was it pre-programmed, and he just pretended to do so onstage? (No "costume malfunctions" that way,...) 

C'mon, you know they lip synch, you don't think fake "playing" is even more common? Frank Zappa did a whole show that way in the late '70s, I think, and nobody knew the difference. 

Evidence of Cohen's pre-programming can easily be found. After his solo, he pre-programmed enough measures into the keyboard's song for the applause that followed AND his response ("You're very kind") and then even a few for the laughter - he already knew was coming! And all this before we finally see him get briefly patient, just for a second, waiting for the song's pre-programmed third verse to begin at 3:22. 

It looks spontaneous - especially with the back-up singers (who probably had to live with a recording of that damned machine, just to figure out when the changes are) but everything - including the audience's reaction - was completely thought out ahead of time. Probably weeks, months, or even years in advance. 

You afraid of the NSA? THIS is another awesome display of "the people" under complete technological control, baby. Call your congressman.

 BTW - Cohen DIDN'T anticipate applause for the second line of the third verse, "I was born with the gift of a golden voice" (Can't you just hear one of these freaks screaming "Be Humble!"?) There, we see him have to sing over the unplanned acknowledgment. 

But he's getting some and seems pleased by that. 

 It's usally enough for my type,...