Bohren & der Club of Gore - Sunset Mission (2xLP)


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Including their debut Gore Motel' (1994), BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE have amassed an impressive eight longplayers. Four album titles allude to the night - their debut was followed by Midnight Radio' (1995), Sunset Mission' (2000), and Black Earth' (2002), whilst the most recent instalment carried the name Piano Nights' (2014). The nocturnal quartet was punctuated by Geisterfaust' (2005), Dolores' (2008) and a mini-album entitled Beileid' (2011), adding rather eerie overtones to the after hours ambience. The BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE legend has grown stronger both at home and abroad with every record they have released and every show they have played. Strange as it may seem, there is a uniform consistency to their reception. Whatever the band does, critiques are unfailingly positive, yet repetitious. References, links and associations recur almost word for word. Consider the arrival of Christoph Clöser in 1997, by way of illustration. When he joined the group, his saxophone replaced the departing Reiner Henseleit's guitar as one of the defining instruments in the band. This was arguably the sharpest break in their sound to this day and a significant marker in terms of the band's reverence for Dutch instrumentalists GORE (the clue is in the name), whose repetitive riffs paved the way for how the guitar would be deployed in a post-everything future. Nevertheless, this fissure in the BOHREN continuum has barely merits a mention in the greater scheme of things. Similarly conspicious by their absence in the BOHREN chronicles are the numerous instruments which they added to the mix - vibraphone, organ, tuba, bass trombone to name just a few. The introduction of choirs at least had a clear visual impact. Since Thorsten Benning left at the end of 2015, the band has continued as a trio, sharing shifts on the drums (although they have equipped themselves with mechanical brushes). A decrease in personnel was conversely accompanied by quantum leaps forward in the group's musical development - or more precisely, minor adjustments triggered major effects. Such changes may not get any easier to spot in the future, such is the intensity of internal imagery sparked by the music, a maelstrom of distractions so powerful that its promises are too sweet and too dangerous in equal measure. The music of BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE opens up remarkable rooms of association, from a warm burrow to a pristine secret lodge, from a
dusky woodland tavern to a smoky quayside dive. Individual and collective floods of images rush forth irresistibly. Loneliness is not at all problematic: empty multi-storey car parks, nighttime drives, remote bridges to nowhere. All in your mind. This is the temptation, a sweet, guilt-free addiction. It's all in your mind - and only there. These sinister crackling songs are invitations to secrete oneself in darkness. With track titles such as 'Maximum Black', 'Zombies Never Die' or 'Dandys Lungern Durch Die Nacht', the mind wanders inexorably into filmic spaces.
Echoing the masters of midnight cinema, stories evolve all by themselves. As the American Film Noir Foundation observed so smartly: 'the vivid co-mingling of lost innocence, doomed romanticism, hard-edged cynicism, desperate desire, and shadowy sexuality.' Their definition of Film Noir serves just as well as an appraisal of the group, 'Bohren For Beginners'.