wax Poetics



Released 1978
record label Crypto
Written by Greg Casseus

Cortex Pourquoi
Cortex Pourquoi

The legendary status attained by Cortex’s legendary 1975 debut Troupeau Bleu has overshadowed the fact that the two Alains (Mion and Gandolfi) recorded three more albums over the next few years. Mion’s wife Mireille Dalbray, whose incredible ghostly vocals were a key factor in making that first album the cult classic it is, sadly passed away not very long after its release and her absence is immediately noticeable on the followups. 

1977’s Vol. 2, while not quite scaling the distinctive and unique heights of its predecessor, is still well worth looking into as a really cool fusion record. But it’s the third album, 1978’s Pourquoi, that turns out to be a real revelation and a must for lovers of Rhodes-and-synth-drenched funky grooves. Behind the cover portrait of two balding Frenchmen lurks a scorching slab of jazz-funk that also veers into boogie and disco on a few tracks. Kicking off with “Sans Toi,” one of the boogie cuts in question that’s also a heartfelt tribute to the late Dalbray, this is an album that just gives and keeps on giving, even with Mion’s everyman-style lead vocals now front and center.

There’s a definite Stevie Wonder/Lonnie Liston Smith/Roy Ayers vibe running throughout the entire album, including on the two English-language cuts “Runnin’ From You” and “Make Me Love You.” Overall this album, at its best, often approaches Troupeau Bleu in overall appeal even if it lacks the uniquely haunted and haunting atmosphere of the latter. A subsequent album, recorded the following year but not released until decades later, contains more of the same but would sadly prove to be the swan song of the Mion/Gandolfi partnership and of the original Cortex itself