In processing the voice of Leonard Cohen beyond recognition, sound artist Gary James Joynes liberates it from structure and narrative development, and uses it, alongside analog synthesizers, to induce in the listener a suspended listening, wherein its intimacy doesn’t absorb or placate but pushes one back into one’s own multi-colored memories.
Cohen’s breathy bass tones are most readily noticeable in the opening moments, where they unfurl in long tendrils alongside sparse but carefully conceived accompaniment. The groans and strained overtones continue to twist around subliminally felt mantras for the first ten minutes of this forty-two minute set, and while pleasing in their ability to trigger memories, its the unexpected excursion into the dark intensity of the slow-burning, sultry drone that occupies the mid-section of the work, as eerie as it is erotic, that really ensnares the attention.
Near the end Cohen’s voice, which sounds not wholly unlike a Gregorian chant, seeps through the pores of the piece once more, broken with spare crackles and distended by Joynes own high-pitched inflection. The album, apart from effectively demonstrating Joynes ability to render a small clutch of component parts almost endlessly flexible, thus making a fine example of high creativity from basic means, represents a strong extension of Cohen’s apparent interest in the light and dark elements of human experience.