Standing at the west end of Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard, the Chateau Marmont hotel has seen many a famous and infamous guest pass through its doors since it opened in 1929. A 2012 stay in one of its second-floor rooms inspired British lyricist and singer Jarvis Cocker to look into its history and led to this collaborative project with multi-faceted Canadian pianist and composer Chilly Gonzales. Room 29, a 21st-century song cycle, was released on 17 March 2017. Gonzales’ score and Cocker’s lyrics conjure up the lives of some of Room 29’s previous occupants, as well as shining a light on the glittering fantasy and often bleak reality of Hollywood. “If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont,” noted Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures, in 1939. Jarvis Cocker was intrigued by the hotel’s links to the history of the film industry. He found the key to creativity in the fact that Room 29 contained a baby-grand piano. What if it could “sing” of the life stories and events it had witnessed? The idea also ignited Chilly Gonzales’s imagination, and both artists embarked on a three-year journey of artistic discovery, unearthing details about guests such as Jean Harlow, Mark Twain’s daughter Clara, and Los Angeles mobster Meyer Cohen, alias “Mickey the Haberdasher”. As well as dramatizing some of those stories, their songs capture both the essential loneliness of the hotel room and the ways in which moving images have moved people in ways they don’t quite understand. Gonzales and Cocker have drawn on the 19th-century model of the song cycle for a structure capable of containing the broad sweep of emotions and states of mind elicited by the real and imaginary dramas of one unusual hotel suite. Room 29 emerges as metaphor for a place within each of us, home to our deepest desires and fantasies.
From the Deutsche Grammophon press release announcing the issue of the album.
This 180g vinyl LP was issued for Record Store Day 2017. It has a buckram textured outer sleeve with gold/bronze foiled lettering. It includes a printed inner sleeve, a lavish 32-page, 12″ square booklet with lyrics and transcript of conversation between Jarvis Cocker and David Thompson and a digital download voucher.
This product is out of print at Universal.