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CD Feature/ Bohren & Der Club of Gore: "Dolores"

img  Tobias
You listen to “Dolores” on a sunny day and nothing happens. You listen to it on the train commuting to work and it leaves you cold. You put it up in the late hours of a party, but people ask you to turn it off again, because it makes them feel tired and kills conversation. You decide to tuck it away without blaming yourself too much for buying it, because, after all, you tell yourself, “Midnight Radio” was a classic and “Sunset Mission” helped you through some bad times and “Black Earth” was spooky in a cool kind of way and hey, who could have suspected the new one wouldn’t kick.

One stormy night, you accidently stumble upon it again, inadvertently pulling it out from underneath a huge pile of CDs. It is freezing outside and it is raining and you have just poured yourself a glass of deep-red wine to spend a couple of hours flicking through Kafka novels by candlelight and enjoy some Chopin, while listening to the momentous thumps of thunder mutely rumbling in the distance. But you can’t find the Chopin disc and now you’re holding “Dolores” in your hands and you decide to give it a spin because the mood seems right and the wine is already waiting for you and you really don’t want to spend hours looking for something else.

You press play and the meditative introductory organ drone of “Staub” fills the room, expanded by sorrowful ornamentation and then the band sets in, led on by sluggishly slow drums, plaintivly ephemeral vibes and sonorous fields of bass spilling into the room like a tsunami in slowmotion and you remain standing where you are and you forget all about the wine and the Kafka and the thunder and the evening you were going to spend on your couch and you think to yourself that you really couldn’t imagine anything darker and ghastlier and more dreadful and horrid and utterly fantastic in this very moment.

It is in this instant, too, that the history of the band flies by you in a threedimensional flashback: Their past as Grindcore ensemble “Chronical Diarrhoea”, their split and subsequent resurrection as Bohren & Der Club of Gore. Their first EPs are floating in the air right in front of you virtually recreated as stunningly real-looking olfactory and haptic holograms and you can smell the Vinyl and feel the rough surface of their retro-style easy-listening covers carrying track titles such as “Die Nahtanznummer” (“Song for close-up dancing”) and “13 Teeth for Toni D”. You remember the hypnotic pull of their first full-length “Gore Motel” and how double-album “Midnight Radio” appeared out of nothing, racking in a four out of five star rating in the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and how everybody was suddenly talking about this band that was feeding from gloom and penetrating the emotional cortex until pleasure and pain could no longer be distinguished and separated.

“Isn’t it funny”, you think to yourself, listening to “Dolores”, haunting images and bittersweet feelings pulsing through you like spinetingling electric currents, “that Bohren & Der Club of Gore first attained fame for being a Metal band that started playing Jazz and now increasingly sound like a Jazz band playing Metal. How they are increasingly incoporating the spiritual feeling, instrumental techniques and musical structures of Doom into their desperate laments: The monstrously resonant soundscape-like subsonic frequencies, the unerringly stoic harmonic loops and the irregularly detonating blows of the Drums, the fabric of the metrum torn apart into an infinite, bloodstained cloth.”

You realise, too, how tracks complement each other, each piece exploring a new nuance of the same nerve. Within its self-applied corsett of consequence, “Dolores” is actually a diverse effort and as you stand there, still transfixed and shaken, you take in all of its different colours: The spherical melodic airiness of “Karen”, the dark Ambient drift of “Schwarze Biene” and “Welk”, the nocturnal Saxuality of “Unkerich” and the warm loneliness of Ghostbar shuffle “Still am Tresen”.

Conceived as drooping anthems to human transience, last words and finaly goodbyes, there can be no development as such in this irreversibly downbound world. And yet, at the end of the tunnel awaits a hymnical sensation which seems strangely out of place on a record like this one and replenishes the chalice of immanent hollowness with wordless meaning. As the concluding notes of closing “Welten” die away, you sink back onto your couch and into the comforting warmth of your blanket, struggling to stay awake and savor the moment, before the night swallows you hole in dreams of disturbing Freud’ean trials and tribulations.

The next day, on your way to work, you listen to “Dolores” on your headphones, waiting for something to happen, anxious for the magic to kick in. The songs feel empty, however, their flourescent coating exfoliated, their soul on leave. Surprisingly. You experience neither sadness nor worry. Outside, an autumnal sun is shining and you turn off your player before the album has even reached half-time, focussing your gaze on the nascent city instead. At home in the evening, you place the case on the shelf with your favourite CDs, right next to “Midnight Radio” and “Sunset Mission” and “Black Earth”. You know its time will come again.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Bohren & Der Club of Gore
Homepage: Pias Records
Homepage: Ipecac Records

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