Back in October, Jarvis Cocker and songwriter-pianist-producer Chilly Gonzales announced they’d be performing together at London’s Barbican Theatre in Spring 2017. It turns out the event is part of a much larger project from the two musicians: the Pulp frontman and Gonzales have teamed up for a new 16-track collaborative album called Room 29.
Due out March 17th, the full-length is inspired by “the goings-on in Room 29 of the Château Marmont hotel,” a Hollywood spot long thought to be haunted. Cocker, whose last release was 2016’s Likely Stories EP, handled the lyrics, while Gonzales wrote the music. Recording took place at Ferber Studios in Paris by Gonzales’ collaborator Renaud Letang, and also featured additional contributions from flautist Nathalie Hauptman, German string ensemble Kaiser Quartett, and French horn player Hasko Kroeger.
Our first peek into Room 29 comes with two tracks, “Tearjerker” and “Tearjerker Returns”, both of which can be streamed below via Spotify.
To get a better idea of the narrative of the album, check out Cocker’s lengthy statement on their upcoming Barbican shows, which are scheduled to go down from March 23rd through 25th:
“Do you believe in ghosts? What if a room could tell you the life-stories of the people that have inhabited it? Better still – what if it could sing you those stories? In Room 29, Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales give a voice to those ghosts, using music, theatrics, clips from classic Hollywood movies and more to reveal the secrets of Room 29 of the Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood.
Featuring contributions from film historian David Thomson and the stories of famous former occupants of the room such as Jean Harlow and Howard Hughes, the show will also attempt to unpick the way a heady concoction dreamt up in the immediate vicinity of the hotel went on to intoxicate the entire population of planet Earth. Or, (to quote the sub-title of David Thomson’s book The Big Screen): it is also the story of the movies and what they did to us.”
For the duration of one evening the entire audience will be occupants of Room 29. You will be greeted by our concierge and you will be given a key. Sit down, get comfortable – it will be our pleasure to serve up a night of entertainment like no other: Room 29 may be a real location in Hollywood, California – but it is also a place within each one of us. Through this collection of songs we hope to open the door to that room for all those of you who wish to explore it. How’s that for Room Service?”
There’s also a teaser trailer for the album:
Room 29 Artwork:
01. Room 29
02. Marmont Overture
04. Interlude 1 – Hotel Stationery
07. Belle Boy
08. Howard Hughes Under the Microscope
10. Interlude 2 – 5 Hours A Day
11. Daddy, You’re Not Watching Me
12. The Other Side
13. The Tearjerker Returns
14. A Trick of the Light
15. Room 29 (Reprise)
16. Ice Cream As Main Course