Sammy Slabbinck, the artist who designed the You Want it Darker cover, has shared a memorial video to the track “Traveling Light.”
The video, which, per Pitchfork, Slabbinck put together with the “excellent guidance” of Cohen’s producer son Adam (who also collaborated on and largely helped arrange the making of Darker), begins by displaying Cohen speaking from his porch, displaying his own acerbic and introspective take on aging and immobility. It’s a tone and subject that pervades the album, and the actual song “Traveling Light” is no exception.
On this track, Cohen rumbles about living by the titular words, seeming to describe, with nonchalant acquiescence, the lack of human attachment in one’s later years. The very notion of “traveling,” meanwhile, takes on new meaning for a man who couldn’t make it to recording sessions with studio musicians due to his health. The track courses with Greek instrumental flourishes, itself seeming a memorial act for a time and place (Cohen lived in Hydra with his partner Marianne Ihlen in the 60s) relegated to memory at the time of the writing of the song.
The video features some previously unreleased footage of Cohen, who died in November, 2016, collaged together and set beneath the song’s lyrics. Rolling Stone detailed how Adam Cohen contributed to the album — helping his father make his home into a recording studio. During the making of the album, Leonard Cohen’s health had drastically declined, and his son told RS of the experience:
It’s increasingly rare for children to be so useful to their parents…To be in such intimate circumstances for such a lengthy period of time with my father was filled with sweetness for me…They say that life is a beautiful play with a terrible third act,” says Adam. “If that’s the case, it must not apply to Leonard Cohen. Right now, at the end of his career, perhaps at the end of his life, he’s at the summit of his powers.
Watch the video: