Review Summary: Bohren prove once again that they can make misery sound beautiful.
Bohren & Der Club Of Gore are a jazz/ambient band from Germany. Back in 1997, Bohren lost their guitarist and replaced him with a saxophone player. Since this change, each album they release has its own unique sound and style, whilst remaining loyal to their unique blend of music.
'Sunset Mission' was the soundtrack to a city at night - the drug-addled back-alleys, smoke and alcoholics. It mixed deep, flowing jazz with rythmic basslines. 'Black Earth' was the beautiful soundtrack to your imminent suicide - a depressing mix of heavy bass, melancholy sax and slow piano.
The direction taken on 'Dolores' then is a much bigger focus on piano, keys and synth. It can be best described almost as sad elevator music - Simple chords and walking notes over ambient background noise. This is no way intended to sound like a bad thing, the rating should tell you that much. The synth is never over-used or sounding out of place. Although the bass takes a much more supporting role in the music this time, it is used to great effect in creating atmosphere. The saxophone still plays a key role in many of the songs, including 'Unkerich' and 'Still am Tresen'.
The shortest track on the album, 'Karin', is the perfect example of how wonderfully Bohren make such a simple concept sound. The track begins with a few notes from a vibraphone, building in the first couple of seconds until all the instruments come in together to form a beautiful melody. The vibraphone leads all through the track, making it easily one of the happiest sounding tracks on the album.
The album opener, 'Staub', sets up the overall feel of the album in much the same way that 'Midnight Black Earth' did for its respective album - no real tune or melody, just ambience to build up atmosphere for the rest of the album to follow.
The album also contains many new elements to keep the listeners attention. For example, 'Von Schnäbeln' contains no drums or bass, but is simply a blend of piano, organ and synth. The following track, 'Orgelblut' in complete contrast is one of the few songs Bohren have written where the drums and symbols are loud, pounding throughout the track.
In conclusion, 'Dolores' is another wonderful album by Bohren. It retains that wonderful melancholy that defines their style, but whilst 'Sunset Mission' and 'Black Earth' are more to be enjoyed in the right mood - at night, when sad etc - 'Dolores' can be enjoyed at any time. Highly recommended for fans or those looking for a new kind of jazz.
Recommended Tracks -
- Schwarze Biene (Black Maja)