This just in, Laibach, a band who always have had a way with a cover, “pay tribute to Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) with a reinterpretation of Cohen’s pre-apocalyptic track, ‘The Future’. This Laibachian version of the track, originally on Cohen’s 1992 studio album of the same name, makes it abundantly clear that the future Cohen predicted is very much our present”.
“Laibach pay tribute to Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) with a reinterpretation of Cohen’s pre-apocalyptic track, ‘The Future’. This Laibachian version of the track, originally on Cohen’s 1992 studio album of the same name, makes it abundantly clear that the future Cohen predicted is very much our present.
In an interview talking about the original, which contains some of his most fierce lyrics, Leonard Cohen, who died 6 years ago today, said “’The Future’ is dark and funny. If I’d have nailed that to the church door like Martin Luther it’d be a very sinister document. But it’s married to a hot little dance track so, in a sense, the words melt into the music and the music melts into the words and you’re left with a kind of refreshment, a kind of oxygen.”
Laibach recently released the opening track, ‘Love Is Still Alive I (Moon, Euphoria)’, from their forthcoming EP of the same name and on it, they accompany the last few lucky survivors of the human race on a post-apocalyptic journey through space in search of a new planet. Across the 8-track EP, Laibach explain that love is the fuel of the existence of the human race, or as Leonard Cohen precisely says here – “love is the only engine of survival”.
Laibach have never hidden the fact that they draw their content and aesthetics exclusively from pop culture and art history. Indeed, they have no interest in originality, saying “There is nothing new except what has been forgotten”. They are, however, interested in interpretation and the context of it, its specific placement in time and space. They are interested in the good old Dadaist combination of a sewing machine and an umbrella on the operating table. The band’s decision to reinterpret ‘The Future’, has been brewing for several years. Laibach were looking for something that would, with great weight, describe the current state of the Zeitgeist in which humanity has found itself and Cohen’s composition does exactly that, corresponding fantastically with the contemporary pre-apocalyptic time.
With this remake, Laibach continue their tribute to great authors such as Dylan (‘Ballad of a Thin Man’), Jagger/Richards (’Sympathy for the Devil’), Lennon/McCartney (‘Let it Be’), and Gainsbourg (‘Love on the Beat’), and at the same time, they commemorate the 6th anniversary of Cohen’s death, joining the musicians who paid tribute to the late giant of musical poetry with their interpretations of Cohen’s compositions.
The Love Is Still Alive EP is set for release on CD and digitally on 20 January 2023 (with the vinyl following in March), coinciding with the Slovenian collective’s The Coming Race tour in Jan and Feb 2023 – full dates below. Laibach formed in the then-Yugoslavian industrial town Trbovlje. Founded in the year that the country’s founding father Tito died, the band rose to fame to become one of the most internationally acclaimed bands to have come out of the former Communist countries of Eastern and Central Europe, recently becoming one of the first bands to perform in North Korea. In 2019 they released a Laibachian interpretation of The Sound of Music, conceived during their trip to North Korea and in 2020 celebrated four decades with Laibach Revisited. An album of music from the acclaimed theatrical production Wir sind das Volk (ein Musical aus Deutschland) based on the writings of Heiner Müller (1929-1995) followed in 2022 and the band announced recently that diplomatic negotiations are underway for a performance in Tehran of Alamut, an original symphonic work composed in collaboration with Iranian composers and performers”.