Post-Western Doom/Drone Duo Cortége will release debut album Capricorn on September 27 on CD and vinyl LP. Members Mike Swarbick and Adrian Voorhies (ex-Canyon of the Skull, ex-Humut Tabal) create a listening experience that is at once heavy, experimental, and utterly cinematic, a primary feature thereof the captivate tones of tubular bells, as well as Roland string synthesizer, Moog Taurus synthesizer, and waterphone.
Album track “Horizons” is now streaming at: cortege.bandcamp.com/track/horizons
Exploring the wide dynamic between the two players,Capricorn is a monster work and the most musically varied recording to date. Although keeping the traditional instrumental theme throughout, the album explores the story of a misguided and waylaid explorer of space and his experiences in a foreign world. Complete with a fully illustrated comic book insert to help listeners along in the story and an accompanying music video directed by Lake Travis Film Festival founder and director Kat Albert, the record takes the band’s deepest influences to a wide and poignant actualization.
Now with their first international dates booked and an sprawling East Coast tour scheduled in support of Capricorn for the late Fall, the band readies themselves to cover more ground than ever before.
The vinyl LP version of Capricorn features beautiful transparent white vinyl, and includes a comic book by Dan Marschner detailing the story and concept of the album via gorgeous illustrations inspired by sci-fi pop art of decades past.
Cortége will hit the stage for a CD release show on September 27 at Skull Mechanix Brewing in Austin, TX with Sheverb and Bridge Farmer, which will include the live premiere of an official video directed by Kat Albert (Lake Travis Film Festival).
FFO: Earth, Hawkwind, Bell Witch, Ennio Morricone, King Crimson
2. The Watch
Produced by Cortége
Engineered by Kevin Sparks III in Austin, Texas
Mastered by Margaret Luthar at Chicago Mastering Service
Photography & Layout by Thomas Blom
Additional artwork by Jim Webb
This record is dedicated to John Entwistle & Keith Moon
Cortége plays Serek basses and Sonor drums
Mike Swarbrick – Bass Guitar, Synthesizers, Percussion & Tape Delay
Adrian Voorhies (ex Canyon of the Skull, ex Humut Tabal) – Drums
Cortége is the brainchild of Chicago born Mike Swarbrick. Cortége (pronounced kȯr-ˈtezh) is the French word for funeral procession. After graduating from Southern Illinois University with a degree in Mortuary Science, Swarbrick relocated to Austin, Texas in the mid 2000’s and started cutting his teeth in the local punk scene playing bass in various bands including Bass Line Bums, Riverside Riot and The Schisms. After seeing acts such as Tweakbird, DFA79 and Lighting Bolt, Swarbrick set out to form his own duo project with the philosophy of composing heavy music in it’s most fundamental form – melody and rhythm.
Mike met Thomas Collard (ex Thunderkeif) in the fall of 2012 and started paving the way of what would become Cortége. Originally rooted in doom, Cortége expanded into the realms of drone and electronic soundscapes. Drawing from early electronic composers, progressive rock icons of the 70’s, instrumental music, film score elements and the cowboy psychedelia-drenched guitar twang of famed Lee Hazelwood discovery Duane Eddy, the duo began to evolve their sound while continually being influenced by the aesthetic of the old West and retro-futurism.
Cortége began performing regularly in Texas in 2016, which also saw the release of the band’s debut recording effort, a two track EP that captured the molasses like crawl of their signature sound. Following a small Midwest tour back to his hometown of Chicago to promote the release, the duo headed into the studio to record 2017’s self titled album – further developing their hypnotic drone style with an injection of heavy tonalities and more straight ahead, slow nodding rhythms.
Shortly thereafter, Collard parted ways with the project. With music for a new EP incubating and an upcoming tour looming, Swarbrick recruited veteran Austin-based drummer Adrian Voorhies (ex Humut Tabal, ex Canyon of the Skull) in the fall of 2017. With few initial rehearsals before a longer, more ambitious tour, including dates in the southwest, the two collaborated on the new compositions and introduced what was to become a hallmark of the band – tubular bells, acquired by Swarbrick straight out of a Houston area high school music program. To date, they are the only mid tier touring band that regularly performs with them both at home and on the road.
With their newly christened silver monstrosity, the duo slugged through two weeks of shows, with Voorhies’ recognizably brazen, jazz-spastic style morphing within Swarbrick’s ever purposeful and sullen bass and synth motifs. A new era for the project had come and upon returning home, the two quickly recorded several singles in the spring and summer, Broken Arrow and Journey To The Stars, before heading out for their longest tour yet; a full roundabout West Coast survey lasting the better part of a month.
With an increasingly intrigued and slowly dedicated fan base building and yet another cross country tour being booked (this time on the East Coast with Swarbrick’s old trio The Schisms), the duo began to map out what was to become their prime artistic statement and second full length record – 2019’s Capricorn. Recording again with band engineer Kevin Sparks III in Austin, the duo left for their second West Coast appearance in the spring and returned home for post production.