by Bohren & der Club of Gore


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Over the course of a dozen releases -- albums, EPS, and singles -- Germany's Bohren & Der Club of Gore have refined their, slow, creepy, atmospherically cinematic brand of instrumental "doom ridden jazz music" into a trademark sound. On the surface, their dynamics have changed very little over the years, but their music has shifted considerably from the bleak, snail-like power of Black Earth, Sunset Mission, and Midnight Hotel into something almost unbearably beautiful in its accessibility. Drummer Thorsten Benning, saxophonist and composer Christoph Clöser -- who also plays vibes and Fender Rhodes -- bassist Robin Rodenberg, and Morten Gass -- who has moved from playing guitar to organ, vocoder, eight-string bass, and synthesizer -- have, since the album Dolores, added even more restraint and a deeply focused (albeit purposefully minimal) melodic architecture into their compositions. The three tracks that make up the 35-plus minute EP Beileid (German for "condolence" or "sympathy") signify a further, albeit incremental, musical development along the aforementioned lines; yet they've not given up an inch of the gorgeous darkness at the root of their sound. "Zombies Never Die (Blues)" is, as ever, instrumental, beginning tersely and tensely with a vibraphone and a Fender Rhodes piano playing a series of repetitive notes in scale, establishing a glacier-like "groove" before a synth winds its way in, and eventually, Clöser's alto saxophone, which in tone and lyric presentation sounds like it might have come from a through-the-looking-glass version of a smooth jazz recording. The effect is horribly sad, and delightfully unsettling. Beileid also contains a first, in the cover of Warlock's "Catch My Heart," which includes Mike Patton delivering vocals! The original, a metallic power ballad, is a long, ravaged yet elegant torch song here, and Patton's delivery (in baritone voice) is an appropriate foil for Bohren's minimal take on the tune. Again, Clöser, who plays tenor and vibes, sets up a heartbreaking atmosphere for Patton to enter; his emotions are laid bare and bleeding through the warm but austere mix. This is among the most haunted pop songs in recent memory. The title track that closes the set commences with a somber, brooding organ, answered by the Rhodes, a minimal bassline, and cymbals that give way to well-placed, low-end chimes. There is a melody here, but it's so skeletal it has to be picked out in pieces from the overall bleakness of the tune. For those who've followed Bohren & Der Club of Gore's career, this is a very worthy next step. For the newcomer, this is the sound of your heart's loneliest, most desolate night.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/26/2011
Label: Ipecac Recordings
UPC: 0689230012825
catalogNumber: 128
Rank: 161308

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