By Nikita Alekseyevich Khrenov
On their September 2019 album Capricorn, experimental Texas duo Cortége uses a vast array of sounds and instrumentation to explore the trials and tribulations of a lost space traveler who finds himself in a strange world.
The album instantly draws parallels between the eerie feel of Angelo Badalamenti’s work on Twin Peaks along with touches of Pink Floyd-esque atmosphere, haunting the listener with subtle synth harmonies woven between trudging guitars and drums. Bells toll towards the end of the album as if beckoning the listener to reach the conclusion. “Occultation” splits the album down the middle with droning white noise, giving each “act” its own individual sense of wariness and dread.
The closing track “Capricorn” is an almost 18-minute voyage of uncertainty and gloom layered in every tool available to the duo. Guitars and drums repeat the same dismal pattern for a great length of time before a single change occurs, wandering through the soundscape aimlessly as the bells continue to ring throughout.
As a standalone album, Capricorn does very well to leave its listeners uncomfortable and curious, keeping them on their toes like a well-crafted score to an arthouse horror film; however, the journey feels rather empty without a visual component to accompany it. The band released one video for the song “Horizons” and the LP is packaged with a fully illustrated comic book that can only amplify the effects of the compositions — but on its own, the album reaches within a hair’s breadth of masterful suspense.
Cortége will be joining Connecticut bands Pinto Graham and Black Horse Rebellion at Cherry Street Station in Wallingford on Wednesday, October 23rd. Join the Facebook event here and visit their page for more tour dates.