4 out of 5
Label: Un Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi
Produced by: Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy (recorded by, mixed by, mastered by)
Intense, breathless drumistry from Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy and Eric Bentz, as I N S T I T U T R I C E the duo pummel what sounds like junk-kit, industrial percussion a la Einsturzende Neubaten, but with a focus on motion and speed. Cohortes rarely sits still. But it’s also not just showy noise, as the collection of instrumentation – reportedly formed from kitchenware and disassembled drum kits – is added to by more resonant, and occasionally unearthly sounds, at least in part from singing bowls and gongs and who knows what else. The album’s A-side makes excellent use of these flourishes alongside the space between fitful drumming fills, sound building and pulsing in a wholly disturbing and awesome fashion, as though caught between terror and worshipful awe at some just-around-the-corner, senses-shattering realization.
We get something of a break from this at the end of the vinyl’s A-side, and start of the B-side, with the more formless ‘bouqet’ tracks (Viola Biflora – bouqet I, and Dianthus Hyssopifolius – bouqet II), and then the next track, Jacques, allows things to shift into an interestingly hopeful sounding direction. This isn’t much carried through the concluding tracks on the B-side, though, which tend to focus more on the percussion, losing some of the direct emotional connection. The compositions are absolutely compelling – the album is never disinteresting – though it just doesn’t stack up to how gripping the opening 2/3rds or so are.