3 December 2008
Bohren & der club of gore: Dolores
Pitchfork churned out an excellent review of Dolores, Bohren's new album, a few days ago. The review contains imaginative labels such as "ersatz jazz". Bohren seems to inspire just that: new attributes to describe borderline music that fits nowhere but which has such a strange familiarity to it. I tried to purchase Dolores via some major music dealer. They didn't send me the album so I downloaded it in a not-so-legal way instead. Unsurprisingly, the reviewer made several comments about the pace of the songs. When the topic is Bohren & the club of gore, this is expected. What the reviewer does not say is that when you listen to Bohren you forget the slowness of the music. You adapt to it, the music finds its way to your spine.
Bohren's albums are intriguingly varied, even though the variations, to some listeners, may appear to be minor. Thier music is always recognizably bohren. Here, the sultry noir-jazz from Sunset mission is induced with even more doses of Valium (ok, I know that the music/drugs metaphor is not so inventive). The ambient feel of Geisterfaust is kept intact at some places but on this album the group is intent on keeping it short. The songs are shockingly short - some of them clocking in at 3 to 4 minutes. As before, every instrument is played to tremendous effect; each note of xylophone, saxophone, fender rhodes piano or drums resonates audaciously, starkly. The group manufactures music which is the opposite to music in which layer-of-layer of instruments confronts the listener to a cohesive wall of sound. Bohren's sound is, for lack of better words, spacious.
With titles such as Faul, Karin and Orgelblut it is impossible not to succeed. In fact, organ is a new element in the Bohren armada. The fender rhodes evokes wistfulness, mourning and threat at the same time. I am insatiable when it comes to fender rhodes piano. Some songs are heartbreakingly direct. Still am Tresen's saxophone melody simply rips out my guts. Interestingly, the song evokes some strange sense of mournful joy, rather than the unsettling feeling of foreboding that has become Bohren's major brand.