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Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Instrumental




"COSMS - Austin Scene Blog"

COSMS is an Austin post-rock act that first cracked into my consciousness at Psych Fest last year, but not because they were playing. It was actually, somewhat oddly, not music but clothes that got me into this two-piece instrumental band. To be specific, it was drummer and synth player Damen’s unmissable shirt which had me going up to take her shot for my friend ATX Streestyle’s blog (I was filling in for a day).

It wasn’t much of a question the lady was making it on the blog: girl was rocking a shirt that was covered hem-to-hem with Steve Buscemi faces. Like, weird ones, if one Steve Buscemi face could be said to be weirder than another, and they were all goddamn over her shirt. ATXSS records peoples’ gigs along with what they’re wearing, and Damen told me she was the drummer for a band named COSMS out of here, which I later looked up. It was a hell of a journalistic win- not only did I get to shoot a wild Steve Buscemi shirt, but the stylish lady wearin’ it was also in a damn good band that I’ve been keeping tabs on since.

Now is an excellent time to get into COSMS, as they’re prepping a new album for release, which should be happening during one of a series of SX shows that these guys will play. In support of said sparklin’ new album, COSMS recently recorded a new and neat live version of track “PAGODA” for KOOP radio, and it has The Deli rather pumped for the full release. The song’s first few dreamy minutes invoke visions of its namesake- one could see it soundtracking cherry blossoms flowing down from the sky in lazy schools around a still Japanese pagoda- and then it gets raw as fuck. It’s also an excellent representation of what COSMS does, which is firmly in the instrumental-only, crescendos-sometimes-included realm of post-rock, but which keeps its own sound and isn’t a clone of the genre’s big acts like GY!BE or Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai clone like much of post-rock can be.

It’s good shit from a group with style and substance to spare, and it portends an excellent full release. Head to their FB page to keep an eye on info on that release and the SXSW shows, and listen to “PAGODA” below. - Trevor Talley, Austin Deli Magazine - Austin Deli Magazine

"FREE WEEK 2015: January 4th - Historic Scoot Inn"

Followed Play by Numbers performance, COSMS proceeded to take the stage next. In the last couple of months, COSMS has been a band under the radar as they shifted their musical focus to writing and recording. The duo band, consisting of Josh Ransom on bass and Damen on synthesizers and drums, was able to create a refreshingly organic sound through looped bass rifts and live drums accompanied by samples. The complicated rhythms and elaborated melodies delivered by COSMS were able to keep the crowd engaged and set a strong foundation of continuous and powerful sound waves. - Jonathan Shanthamurthy, Austin Live Review - Austin Live Review

"Heavy Blog is Heavy"

OK, it’s time to clue you in: there’s another budding post-rock community taking form in Austin, TX. Given the city’s reputation it might not be that much of a surprise: boutique, niche and post-rock are words that go together pretty well and Austin is basically ground-zero of post-rock, with bands like Explosions in the Sky and This Will Destroy You hailing from there. Regardless, there’s a collective of bands taking the lead of the once-illustrious scene (more on that, very soon) and a host of young bands producing not only post-rock but original post-rock to boot.

Take COSMS as an example. This once-trio now consists of only two members, using the drums and a bass guitar to make some of the most ponderous and deep-striking post-rock you’ll find. Their sound is tinged with some retrowave to boot, giving the whole thing a glaze of sweetness and a glimmer of hope. Head on over the jump for your first taste!

I’ll be honest with you: this track might not be the most reflective of the rest of the album but it speaks to me the most. Maybe because it reminds me of my beloved The Samuel Jackson Five or maybe it’s just something about the synths but ‘Xie Xie’ just smacks of insight, honesty and a dedication to the music. In that sense though it is very reflective of the rest of the album: it features a host of these stumbling bass lines, dreamy leads and a voice behind the drum kit that’s distinct and endearing.

All in all, this should be a good initiation into what’s going down in Austin. We plan to have a lot more from the fledgling scene there, so keep your eyes on this space. In the meantime, chill out with COSMS’s Arteria and dream of days long gone. - Eden Kupermintz

"COSMS Releases "Arteria""

A while back yonder, we brought you some sweet preliminary sounds from Austin post-rock duo COSMS then-upcoming EP. That EP has done gone and come out, and we've got the whole thing for you here today! Arteria expands on the sound from pre-release, Asian-influenced instrumental track "Pagoda" with five total tracks of contemporary two-musician post-rock experimentation.

It's a little weird to us who remember when Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky and the other post-rock of the 2000s was a wholly new sound, as now the genre is in a very different place. Most "indie" fans have moved to a pretty heavily psych-rock, indie-folk, synthy pop zone, and the massive underculture (does that even exist anymore?) attention has shifted away from genres like post-rock (you could include a lot of other genres like doom metal in there too). Personally, I think that's a great thing for bands like COSMS, because it allows them space to do whatever they want, to work on subtle changes and enhancements to their genre and to really get the sound they want down on record. The result is lovely gems like Arteria, with its Shanghai-meets-American post-rock sound, and its ultra pared-down two musician format that allows for each piece of their songs to be prominent, allowing the listener to really see how each part contributes to the whole.

That's an approach that is quite nice in post-rock, especially when you think back to those 20+ piece tracks that Godspeed used to drop. As awesome as those were, they were going for something very different, something rougher and louder and more urgent, almost desperately so. That was great for the time, but that COSMS has found a space to do something very different, and very lovely, in post-rock that's shows that the genre has much still to offer.

In all these are some fresh-layered tracks with delightful complexity in the song structure from but two musicians, and you won't find tighter instrumental music coming out of Austin. Listen to all of Arteria below y'all. - The Deli Austin

"The Intensity of Rhythm: Cosms’ Arteria is a Different Kind of Post Rock"

Even in the varied and often experimental realm of what we generally refer to as “post rock”, Arteria by COSMS is something a bit different. Released during the fervor of SXSW, Arteria is the product of two individuals, one from Indiana and the other from Shanghai, who got together here in Austin to make music. Taking cues from the more experimental end of the post rock spectrum, notes of Battles, Turing Machine, Tortoise, and Mercury Program seem to come to the forefront across these five tracks, but there’s no denying that COSMS have put their own spin on the sound.

The album opens with “Velveteen”, a song that immediately sets the stage for everything else to come. Slowly building from nothing, COSMS apply a non-stop procession of layers, each tight, and repeating, but ultimately expanding on established themes. The result is simple, but complex…serene yet almost menacing. “Xie Xie” continues what we will soon see as a trend with a subtle, twinkling synth intro leading into an almost twangy, organic procession of looped guitar riffs. There’s a machinelike precision at work within these songs that feels almost alien. The intensity of rhythm and the constant building of loops feels like a musical programming language; audio ones and zeroes repeating, combining, and overlapping to create sentences of song.

“Mekong” continues what seems to be a variation of a theme on Arteria. While still built off a central repetitious rhythm, the song feels a little looser and perhaps more traditional to post rock at times, building to a distorted guitar bridge and an outro of meaty drums. “Metropolis” perhaps best describes that alien feel I mentioned earlier with its synthetic rhythm and percussion giving way to live instruments and an almost jarring syncopated drum section. The core repetition fades about 2/3 of the way through leaving the song to culminate with an echo of organic guitars. Is this cyborg dance music? Arteria ends with “Pagoda,” a song that doesn’t bring much new to the table, but whose sound is nonetheless distinct, with sawtooth guitars giving it an almost industrial feel.

I found myself coming away from Arteria feeling as if these weren’t so much songs I had listened to, but collections or deconstructions of musical ideas, artfully arranged and sequenced. It’s a feeling I most often associate with the more hardcore advocates of math rock and yet, there’s almost a more artistic angle to it, like an audio installation designed to fit solely in the space between my ears. There’s no denying the technique on display by COSMS onArteria, but I’m not sure if I’ve found the “soul” of the album. The auditory juggling act on display is by no means unimpressive, but the art takes a back seat to the artifice here. I wouldn’t count that as mark against Arteria, but in a genre where massive swells and crescendos have come to be expected (especially in Austin post rock), COSMS play a more technical, ambient style of music. Ultimately it’s a bit more contemplative and easier to blend into the background, but I bet cyborgs love it.

Arteria is out now on COSMS’ bandcamp page and they will be playing at Holy Mountain on April 9th. - OVRLD - Brian Audette


"EP," March 2013

  • Recorded at Ohm Recording Facility, ATX by Chico Jones and mixed by Brad Ferguson.  Artwork by Doug Parks.

"Arteria," March 2015

  • Recorded at Ohm Recording Facility, ATX by Chico Jones and mixed by Brad Ferguson.  Artwork by Josh Lee Design.
"Vena," August 2019
  • Recorded at MicroMega Recording Studio, ATX by Marcos Delgado and mixed by Brad Ferguson.  Artwork by Josh Lee Design.



Two individuals, one from small town Indiana and one from Shanghai, met in Austin on the first day of 2013 with the goal to make music that was different.  COSMS is the product of their intersection.  Influenced by many of the same bands (Tortoise, Mogwai, Battles) from a world away, Damen (formerly of Duck Fight Goose) came to Austin from Shanghai and began to play with Josh on bass.  They recorded their first EP at Ohm Recording Facility in Austin shortly after their initial meeting in March of 2013 and returned for another in the winter of 2014.  Their new EP, "Arteria," was released during SXSW, 2015.  The follow up, "Vena," was released in August, 2018.  There are 2 singles about to drop in early 2020....

Though their music is heavily driven by rhythm, COSMS is far more than just a rhythm section.  With an outward influence by the world around them and the use of loops, effects, and synthesizers, these two people sound like ten.

Band Members