German instrumental combo Bohren & der Club of Gore
(keyboardist Morten Gass, guitarist Reiner Henseleit, double bassist Robin Rodenberg, drummer Thorsten Benning)
penned the modest ominous ambience of Gore Motel (1994) halfway between
the geometric jams of the Necks and the
downbeat atmospheres of Angelo Badalamenti's soundtracks.
That idea transcended its original scope on the double-disc Midnight Radio (1995), whose (untitled) pieces were rendered hypnotic, anemic, very slow, stark and evocative by super-heavy bass notes and catatonic drumming.
In other words, the "rock" music that used to be driven by guitar and piano was now
driven by the rhythm section but in a negative way, by downplaying and limiting it rather than by propelling and emphasizing it.
ambient noir was perhaps the main influence.
The 22-minute 1 takes a few minutes to launch the slow-motion guitar melody, which sounds like the cover of a romantic jazzy tune.
The 13-minute 3 feels a bit more psychedelic because it toys with reverb
and adds delicate keyboard tinkling.
2 and 4 hide gentle melancholy melodies that sound like slow-motion versions of a ballad by the Cowboy Junkies.
Barely more lively, and with a bass line that is almost doom-metal, 5 retains the cinematic feeling of the previous album.
7, instead, is all doom and gloom, a soundtrack for suicides.
The album's main problem is that it contains a lot of filler, like
6, 8 and 9.
And 11 is a weird dance track with drum-machine which doesn't seem to belong to this album.
After a long hiatus, the quartet returned in a jazzier configuration
(having replaced Henseleit with saxophonist Christoph Cloeser) that crafted
the ambient noir jazz of Sunset Mission (2000).
The pace is much less funereal. The music is almost colorful instead of being
black and white.
Piano and saxophone duet and dance in Prowler
A neoclassical element ripples through the mournful, funereal adagio On Demon Wings.
Meanwhile, a sci-fi mood permeates the droning Painless Steel and
a gothic element transpires from
Darkstalker, a sense of emptiness perhaps inspired by Tarkovsky's movies.
But these are just the appetizers. The stakes increase with the
graceful somnambulism of Midnight Walker,
with the full cinematic experience of the ten-minute Street Tattoo,
with the enigmatic suspense of the ten-minute Dead End Angels,
and with the pensive piano and saxophone soliloquies littered throughout the
melancholy, autumnal, 16-minute Nightwolf.
Dead End Angels and Nightwolf represent the peak of their aesthetic principles and at the same time indicate how to escape its limitations.
Black Earth (2002 - Wonder, 2011) is their gloomiest album, bordering
on horror music. The macabre suspense of the twelve-minute The Art of Coffins sums up the mood of the entire album.
The nine-minute Midnight Black Earth is a funeral march with a
mournful saxophone coda.
There's an austere and menacing
tone starting with opener Crimson Ways that sets this album apart from the previous ones.
Maximum Black even has a zombie choir floating in the background.
Vigilante Crusade definitely drifts in to ghostly territory.
On the other hand, Destroying Angels leans a bit too much in
cocktail lounge territory, and a few songs towards the end could have been
There are rare attempts to disrupt the general archetype. Notably,
the obstinate languor of Skeletal Remains is derailed by an almost
dissonant sax solo.
In attempt to escape the limitations of their format, the more ambient
Geisterfaust (2005) toyed with vibraphone, tuba and a choir (and no saxophone until almost the end) in the
20-minute Zeigefinger and only matched Bohren's classic sound in
Kleiner Finger, while
Dolores (2008) generally veered towards thicker arrangements
(the eight-minute Staub).
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Federico Morganti) |
La combo strumentale dei tedeschi
Bohren & der Club of Gore (Morten Grass alle tastiere, Reiner Henseleit
alla chitarra, Robin Rodenberg al contrabasso, Thorsten Benning alla batteria) concepė
la dimessa atmosfera di Gore Motel (1994) risultando come una versione pių
viva e meno geometrica dei Necks.
il suo scopo originale nel doppio Midnight Radio (1995), i cui pezzi
erano resi ipnotici, sottomessi, lenti, austeri ed evocativi da un basso particolarmente
pesante e da un drumming catatonico. In altre parole la musica, prima guidata
da chitarra e piano, era ora guidata dalla sezione ritmica, ma in maniera
negativa, minimizzandola e limitandola piuttosto che incentivandola ed
Dopo una lunga
interruzione, il quartetto fece ritorno in un assetto pių jazz (dopo aver
rimpiazzato Henseleit con il sassofonista Christoph Cloeser) che produsse il
noir jazz ambient di Sunset Mission (2000) e Black Earth (2002).
di fuggire i limiti del loro formato, Geisterfaust (2005) giocava con
vibrafono, tuba e coro, mentre Dolores (2008) virava in generale verso
arrangiamenti pių corposi.