*Montage of Heck is also the name of a low-profile collection of noises construed by Cobain on cassette, in his youth. It’s currently available online.
The first noteworthy thing I’d like to mention about this new documentary, which is noteworthy insofar as anybody who frequents any libraries for the next few months will be forced to look at Kurt Cobain’s messianic mug in life-size, is that it’s curated by Courtney Love. Love resides in LA, a place Cobain disliked, according to Nirvana: The Biography, which is understandable since it offers the opposite climate to his native Northwest.
So from an artistic standpoint, this is sort of a black eye for it so far. Something it professes to do is to remit his daughter, Frances, to “present the man” Kurt Cobain to the audience. Great, in spirit… except the article also proffers that Little Miss Cobain doesn’t remember her father, as she was one and change year old when he passed. Maybe this is compensated by the half-naked picture of her on the article’s first page? I’m sure her dad would love seeing that.
While we’re on the topic of the present day Frances Bean, I’d like to offer another of the article’s propensities for disaster: it mentions that she creates visual art, as a hobby, and it divulges H.R. Giger’s Alien as a source for her inspiration, which is actually pretty cool. It does not, though, offer pictures or illustrations of any of her art, a token which would have been far more encapsulating of current day expression than this sort of conglomerate, Hollywood perspective of Kurt’s life.
Nevermind came from LA, with all its overproduced sheen, compression, and lack of live sound. The band wanted to get away from this in the years immediately following and so recruited Steve Albini, a sort of quasi-punk but full-bred cloudy-day northerner, for the followup. This is undoubtedly the artistic direction in which Cobain wanted to steer the band back, and well documented in Nirvana: The Biography is the friction that ensued between Albini and Love, and also artistically, between the seminal Albini and Nirvana’s Californian record label, the albeit comparatively lazes-faire Geffen.
So as Love has won this tug of war in the cinematic depiction of her late husband, the level to which the film should offer a nuclear zeitgeist of Cobain’s creative mind is certainly questionable. When I think of Kurt Cobain, I think of warming pop songs that are dismissive in a galvanizing way of Hollywood culture, to say nothing of the actual place, LA. For Kurt Cobain’s first Rolling Stone photo shoot, he wore a blank white t-shirt that said “Corporate Magazines Still Suck.” I don’t think he wrote it big enough.