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CD review: Kurt Cobain, Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings

Universal; Release Date: Nov. 13, 2015

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It's hard to believe that it's been 21 years since the death of Kurt Cobain, and almost harder to believe they've found enough "solo" material to put together a 31-track album, but here it is. Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings is being released in coordination with the DVD release of the documentary/portrait Montage of Heck.

The album is a variety of cassette recordings and never-before-released music that Cobain recorded. It's not a "Holy shit, this is awesome! Why didn't they release this before?!" album though. It's more of an archival piece that gives insight into the songwriting and vision of Cobain.

There are weird oddities, early demos that would become Nirvana songs and random experimental ditties. "The Happy Guitar" offers two minutes of Cobain strumming an acoustic guitar with upbeat riffs that could have been an alt-country tune or TV themesong. "Montage of Kurt" is two minutes of vocal experimentation and noises that would be more at home on a Flaming Lips album (yes, there is even a "Montage of Kurt II") and "Reverb Experiment" is exactly what the title would lead you to believe. "Rehash" fuses a grunge-metal screamer with a bit of Butthole Surfers psychedelia. "Beans" sounds like Cobain spent a bit too much time near a helium tank, while "Burn the Rain" sounds like it could have easily developed into a Nirvana song.

The album features a mixture of acoustic and electric guitars being played by Cobain — with some songs of better quality than others, in both recording and songwriting terms.

As someone who grew up as a fan of Nirvana and was able to see them in concert, the album was a fun listen, but not something I'm going to be playing on a regular basis. It serves its historical purpose well.

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