“When we started out, we were trying to sound like Stereolab and Sonic Youth,” says Cohen. “We also were huge fans of New Order, but back in the mid-’90s. The things that we loved were out, considered so not cool. You could not touch New Order. It was just not cool to sound like that.”
Fortunately, Cohen’s enthusiastic desire to imitate his favorite music has resulted in something that is fresh and listenable, even though it’s not quite unique – but that’s not the point of Languis; after all, even Kraftwerk were just trying to sound like the Beach Boys.
“I’m not really interested in finding my own voice, I think it’s kind of overrated,” muses Cohen. “It’s mostly about doing what you enjoy and having fun. I mean, no one is really an owner of their own style.”
As the title suggests, Fractured is the result of approximately four years of piecing together the remnants of the broken partnership between Cohen and Marcos Chloca, his former band mate. Originally a duo from Argentina, Languis eventually became a quartet based in Los Angeles with the addition of Stephen Swesey (formerly of Tristeza) and John Girgus (ex-guitarist of Aberdeen).
Between 1997 and 2006, Cohen and Chloca recorded five LPs and a sprinkle of EPs and singles; however, Chloca and Cohen’s artistic visions diverged significantly before Fractured was properly conceptualized and finished. Since Chloca’s departure about two years ago, it has become a largely one-man project, with Cohen picking up the reins.
“Doing Fractured was hard because I pretty much lost my partner; we had worked together for many years,” he reflects. “Fractured was a collection of quarter-finished songs, so I built it from there, from all the scraps we had … and finished all these things from the pieces that were left from the break-up and arguments.”
Though the entire album is made of fragments that were essentially sewn together by Cohen and Girgus, it’s a cohesive and warmly colored tapestry of moody songs that mirror the peaks and valleys of life. You can hear the heady rush of youth in the lo-fi pop of “Page 17,” the aching beauty of love lost in the shoegazey “This Is Not a Test” and contemplative ruminations in the ambient waves of “Mending Spear Pt.3.” The last song on the album – “Everything We Set Out To Be And Never Did” – expresses the band’s final moments of unity and cooperation.
“It was the one true, harmonious moment where the four of us came together for that one song,” explains Cohen. “That song was able to register that moment of pure collaboration, where we listened to each other. It was a great moment on that song.”
Even though there are no permanent band members besides Cohen, who remains busy with side projects such as managing Internet radio station Dublab and his other band Psychic Powers, Languis still carries on as the primary vehicle for his vault of never-expired ideas.
Rising from the debris of broken connections and mended beginnings, Fractured emerges as a lush and emotional patchwork of songs that move through the passages of love and loss and the indescribable wonderment in between.
Fractured is currently available. For more information, visit www.languis.com.