Region: USA (rock-hiphop)

Cougar, a 5-piece instrumental rock/electronica band from Madison, Wisconsin, describes its music as “Emergency Rock” because it first captures the model of neutrality/purpose/efficiency that defines emergency procedures and then extends that raw, passionate and organic emotion to create unabashedly epic instrumental compositions.

Cougar Podcast described Cougar as “what Bartok and Stravinsky might have done had they lived and composed in the computer age.”

Members of the group have been involved in the progressive music community for years, including ensembles like the internationally renowned Youngblood Brass Band. Cougar is the culmination of what began as informal compositional/rhetorical gatherings. These sessions brought together a core group of musicians committed to careful meditation and refinement. This ethos pushed the group to constantly examine and breakdown their approach. The group began exploring the idea of the “hook” as an institution that occurs within all beautiful music; be that hip-hop, punk, electronic, classical, improvised, all – or none-of-the-above.

Cougar describes its music as “Emergency Rock”. Emergency Rock is not wordplay; it is a literal description. It captures the model of neutrality/purpose/efficiency that defines emergency procedure and extends it to music. Each song is a collage of voices constantly interacting and evolving one another. Shape shifting melodies, vast sonic canvases, dense, raw, electronic, organic, found-percussion and driven sounds resonate throughout. Cougar is passionate, powerful, unabashedly epic instrumental music. The band’s sound has become anthemic to rescue-culture aficionados everywhere.

On the ensemble’s profile page, tries to compare Cougar to other bands: “The group’s lush, dynamic arrangements fall somewhere between Four Tet, Tortoise, Fugazi and perhaps Nick Drake, imagined as more expansively pensive than eerily morbid. What separates Cougar from the post-rock pack is their keen sensibility of (and attention to) form/texture, which seems more in line with sample-based music and experimental/modern classical than indie rock, hence the preference for new genres… Verbosity aside, Cougar’s music is urgent, captivating and strangely moving. It is emergency rock.”

‘A bittersweet, innocent wash of trickling guitars that counter each other like diffident sea creatures in courtship…harnessing layers in icy, crystalline symmetry.’ -Pitchfork

‘What Bartok and Stravisnky might have done had they lived and composed in the computer age.’

• Law, 2006


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