In the spirit of full transparency, I have copied and pasted two sentences that I think probably do a better job than I will in 500 or so words, at describing what I have just listened to on this latest release from Austin based two piece Cortege –
‘Cortége is an Austin based post-western, heavy ambient doom duo. If Earth and Pink Floyd teamed up and did a soundtrack for David Lynch.’
Whilst those two sentences may lack a certain frisson and/or artistic flair (I am not promising either in the following review just to set your expectations) it does a fairly good job at encapsulating what the modus operandum of Cortege is. When the good master of all things Ave Noctum, suggested that I might enjoy this, I am wondering if this was some form of punishment for a late review, poor spelling or his general distain at my lack of grammatical sense in any shape, way or form. I for one can’t blame him…BUT…I am at a bit of a quandary as to how to process what I have just listened to.
I think the nearest musical touchpoints on offer here are the more atmospheric bits of Isis The Band, Neurosis and Russian Circles, whilst subjugating any sense of real heaviness and replacing it with a soundtrack to a updated version of Moonraker, where James Bond is captured by aliens, force fed alien spunk and forced to birth an unholy brood of half alien, half Roger Moore Lovecraftian monsters whilst being kept alive on a diet of said alien spunk, Kit Kats and sausages.
Seriously though, in terms of musical endeavours, this is either the most intriguing thing I have ever listed to OR a load of pretentious fucking bollocks. To be honest it’s probably somewhere in-between. As with a recent review I did on one of the myriad of Mike Patton projects which comprised mostly of random, rambling French flavoured spoken word trawls though a menu (not making this up), this, I think, isn’t as inward looking or some pointedly self-indulgent as it likes to think it is. When the drums start to kick in on ‘Horizons’ it seems to find its feet and it all, suddenly, starts to make sense (sort of). Does this album really warrant a place on these hallowed pages of ours? Difficult to tell really. Does this release baffle, bamboozle and delight in equal measure? Does it confound expectations and defy popular conventions? Well it does all these things and more (non-more so than on the labyrinthian album closer ‘Capricorn’ clocking it at 17 minutes and 43 seconds), but it’s a dense, thick, amorphous lump of music that whilst not quite sailing over my head, it did manage to moor in ‘I don’t quite get this’ harbour for the night and then invited me over to sit on deck with a cup of tea and a side order of LSD.
(6 AND HALF BISCUITS!!! /10 – Nick Griffiths)