If you want to listen to Bohren & Der Club of Gore properly it might help if you follow these rules:
- Don’t start listening to their music before 2 a.m. at night
- Make sure that you are alone
- One of the following:
- If possible take a ride through western Germany’s Ruhr area on a deserted highway so that you can see the huge electric power stations (respectively any other highly industrialized area)
- If you don’t want to drive turn out the lights and make sure that you sit at the window; you might also have a glass of absinthe (not too much)
- Take a deep breath before you start
- Play it loud
- Don’t be afraid of your emotions, feel free to cry
- Let yourself go
The band’s central idea is to build up textures – usually with endless organ or mellotron chords – in which they sink monstrous piano and bass chords with an unprecedented creepiness, like in “Fahr zur Hölle” (Go to Hell). There are drums, but they do not deliver a beat or at least a pulse, they are more like red wine slowly dropping in slow motion on a white table cloth – over and over again. And more than anything else Bohren try to illuminate the imaginary space a single chord or a single note can create and they savor it to the fullest because they stick to their concept in a relentlessly consequent way.
But there is another side to this approach as well – a heartbreaking emotionality. A track like “Ganz leise kommt die Nacht” (Night comes very silent) starts with lost vibraphone notes, they seem to drift through the air before Bohren add their typical chords. Then Christoph Clöser intersperses a forlorn melody on the saxophone which vanishes as suddenly as it appeared.
This music drags you away from your daily routine, it offers respite from the fast pace of our cities, it lends you a hand, it gives you solace – like a friend.
Bohren & Der Club of Gore are Morten Gass (organ, mellotron, baritone guitar, piano), Christoph Clöser (piano, saxes, vibraphone), Robin Rodenberg (double bass) and Thorsten Benning (drums),
“Piano Nights” is available on 180 g double vinyl (CD included) and on CD.
Listen to it here:
Bohren & Der Club Of Gore: Sunset Mission (Wonder, 2000) **** ½
Their third album (after Gore Motel and Midnight Radio) is their first masterpiece. It is the blueprint for their future works and especially saxophone and vibraphone are of a dark melancholic yearning that you have hardly ever heard before.
Bohren & Der Club Of Gore: Black Earth (Wonder, 2002) *****
Their opus magnum - even more abysmal, darker, slower and tougher than “Sunset Mission”. Again there is the soundscape quality, music cold as the air of a winter’s night but under the surface there is also something really warm. The names of tracks like “Skeletal Remains”, “Constant Fear” or “The Art of Coffins” say more than all the words.
Bohren & Der Club Of Gore: Dolores (Play it again Sam, 2008) ****
After they left out the saxophone on the predecessor Geisterfaust Bohren bring it back on this album and they also include a church organ. The result is that they find back to their old tristesse and the titles show some kind of humor as well (“Still am Tresen”, which can be translated as “Silent at the bar”).
Bohren & Der Club Of Gore: Beileid (Play it again Sam, 2011) ***
For the first time Bohren include vocals on an album – and invited Mike Patton to do the job. The central track “Catch my Heart” is a cover version of a ballad by Germany’s hard rock band Warlock and they transform the cheesy original into a gloomy piece of art. A nice mini album which cannot quite compete with its predecessors.