BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE - Dolores 2LP
If you enjoy it slow and low, Cologne-based Bohren & Der Club Of Gore will very likely do the trick. In fact, with each subsequent release the quintet's "horror-jazz" grows increasingly refined (i.e. incredibly fucking spare).
And hey, they've been at it awhile: Thorsten Benning, Morten Gass, Reiner Henseleit (who left the band in 1996 and was replaced a year later by the ivory-tickling saxophonist Christoph Clöser) and Robin Rodenberg began playing together in 1988, mining a metallic hardcore sound. Subsequently, as Bohren, they released Gore Motel in 1994, followed by the 2xCD Midnight Radio (1995), Sunset Mission (2000), and Black Earth (2002; reissued on Ipecac in 2004). Bohren's fourth studio album, Geisterfaust, is translated from the German as "Ghost Fist,".
While not breaking much new ground for Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Dolores is in many ways a logical continuation and improvement over 2005's Geisterfaust. This time Bohren more fully realise the potential of Geisterfaust's strongest song "Zeigefinger" while also adding more diversity to the mix. The use of the ghostly choirs found on Black Earth is expanded, and Bohren (re)introduce the organ into their music. The blueprint of the album is layed out immediately with "Staub", whose opening notes establish the sad, quasi-religious tone that dominates Dolores.
Although Bohren's music is often associated with the works of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti, on Dolores the smoky jazz lounges of Fire Walk with Me are only sporadically revisited. The saxophone has nevertheless regained some prominence since Geisterfaust, most notably on "Unkerich" (classic Bohren), "Still Am Tresen" and especially "Welten", their most powerful closing song since "Dead End Angels". As always, Bohren's music is minor key, but Dolores replaces the bleakness of Black Earth and Sunset Mission with a more serene, mournful atmosphere, and with "Karin", they may well have written their first "happy" song.
Bohren & Der Club Of Gore have been championed regularly (and fervently) by the fine folks at Aquarius Records in San Francisco, and they'd appeal to listeners of black metal as well as drone (Stephen O'Malley gives them props on his website). But for all of that gloom/doom, I could also see them appealing to fans of minimalist ambience and spare electronics, as well those who enjoy adventurous "out" jazz. But regardless of your genre identification, you'd do best to turn this up, concentrate, and let it work its way into your head.