Friday, September 14, 2007

Kosmos—s/t (The End)
I don’t know if the late Carl Sagan liked rock music at all, but I think he would have appreciated Kosmos. Not only did this splendidly psych-rocking Montreal quartet borrow and mutate the name of the good doctor’s landmark TV series, they also make music that would have worked perfectly as that show’s soundtrack. I can picture Sagan guiding us around billions and billions of galaxies to the chilling Kraftwerk vibe of “Dream” or using the burbling synth raga of “Mothership” as a backdrop to a discussion of black holes. Kosmos play planetarium rock to be sure, but they pull in so many styles and musical colours that the album easily avoids becoming a drone-fest. Instead it’s a vital, concise cluster of Euro-prog explorations mixed with unexpected detours into heavy rock raveups and fuzz punk. Voivod drummer Michel Langevin powers the whole enterprise (along with copilots Jetphil, Alex Crow of Tricky Woo, and Vincent Peake of Grimskunk) with an authority befitting decades of laying down off-kilter rhythms for Voivod. He provides plentiful bombast and bluster for more extroverted tracks like album opener “Psycho,” “Messe Noire” and “Grand Grizou” where his bandmates provide thrills aplenty with their organ vs. synth vs. guitar battles. Some pieces bring to mind Heep and Purple sans crooning, as well as the vanished instrumental NOLA-scene side project The Mystick Crewe of Clearlight. Fans of Goblin, Zombi, Djam Karet, and Pink Floyd’s soundtrack work would also be advised to tune in and turn on. I suspect this album is the inevitable by-product of someone’s cool record collection and an attitude that anything’s worth trying once. From Red Giants to White Dwarfs, they’re all here in the Kosmos.