Bohren & Der Club Of Gore - Bohren For Beginners (2016) - Review

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Band: Bohren & Der Club Of Gore
Album title: Bohren For Beginners
Release date: 21 October 2016
Label: PIAS Recordings

Tracklist:
Disc 1
01. Karin
02. Prowler
03. Constant Fear
04. Maximum Black
05. Ganz Leise Kommt Die Nacht
06. Unrasiert
07. Still Am Tresen
08. Black City Skyline
09. Kleiner Finger
10. Zombies Never Die

Disc 2
01. Daumen
02. Catch My Heart
03. Mitleid Lady
04. Der Angler
05. Schwarze Biene (Black Maja)
06. Titel 2
07. Dandys Lungern Durch Die Nacht

Bohren & Der Club Of Gore are a uniquely talented band. Bohren take their sounds from some very different musical styles and bring them together into one cohesive whole. Starting out over 20 years ago, Bohren has built up an average sized yet magnificent discography over the years. For fans, looking to find out what Bohren & Der Club Of Gore is all about can be a very daunting task. Where to start? And which tracks do the band think represent them the best? Some changes in line-up over the years have played a role in changing their sound vastly from the '90s into the early '00s. Going from sort of a downtempo rock sound into something that is much more akin to their dark jazz or doom jazz label for which they are so easily recognized.

So with a nice sized discography and a bit of evolution over the years, where to begin? Bohren have kindly answered this question for new fans. Introducing Bohren For Beginners, Bohren & Der Club Of Gore have given fans a double album's worth of music to delve into. As the band are quick to point out, this is not a greatest hits album. That connotation takes us to a mindset thinking of old and/or washed-up musicians, at the end of their careers, looking to capitalize, one last time, on material from their glory days. Instead what Bohren have delivered is a point of reference, a starting position, for fans to find the tracks that Bohren think are most representative of themselves and the evolution of their sound.

Bohren & Der Club Of Gore are exceptionally good at setting a mood. They are able to turn a boring afternoon in one's den into something vastly grander. On any given Bohren track, close your eyes, open your third eye. You are sure to be transported to some dank and low-lit bar, cigarette smoke wafting across the nostrils as you watch the lonely jazz musician on the stage pouring his heart and soul into his music. Now, filled to the brim with contentment, sipping on a glass of Scotch, you hear the down-tempo drums gently keeping the beat. Lighting another cigarette, as the smoke burns your eyes, your attention turns to the soft touch of the pianist as he effortlessly conjures the saddest emotions which sadistically lead further into that sense of contentment. 

What Bohren delivers is a sort of Heaven on Earth. But only for those with the properly dark soul to appreciate this sort of magic. In fact, we need go no further than the brilliantly melancholic and contemplative track "Black City Skyline" to find this perfect combination of sounds. For those less inclined to darkness, this is not a deal breaker. Bohren exude their mastery of this craft on every second of every track. Anyone even remotely interested in jazz music should find a little something here to keep themselves pacified. This is the kind of music that finds common ground between father and son. As the son hears and feels the utter darkness in tracks like "Maximum Black", the father is, meanwhile, paying attention to that crisp sounding piano movement. These sorts of formulae cannot be faked or manufactured. Rather, this is a testament to the sheer brilliance and dedication of the musicians in question.

Long-time Bohren fans will only find one unreleased track on the album, "Der Angler". But, this track is quite magnificent, and seems to either harken back to the times of Sunset Mission, or it may actually be a track from that time period. Flanged down-tempo guitar chords are gently strummed as the drummer effortlessly holds the beat, bringing this package together we have the deeply dark and emotive saxophone which begs for the lions-share of attention on "Der Angler". For some die-hard fans, just this one track will be enough reason to open your wallets once again for Bohren. For new fans, well, this is just one of the many outstanding tracks on the two-disc set, each one seemingly better than the one before.

Bohren & Der Club Of Gore have released a brilliant collection in Bohren For Beginners. This is absolutely the perfect starting point for new initiates. The album comes in a sleek package with some awesome Bohren artwork. The two discs worth of music provide a ton of aural bliss. I would absolutely recommend this album to any Terra Relicta reader who has even the slightest interest in jazz. For many, Bohren is the one and only jazz band they will ever need. Obviously fans of The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble will love Bohren, a band which likely set the stage for later bands like TKDE. The best part about this album is that Bohren For Beginners alludes to the idea that there will still be plenty more music from them in the future, which should be enough to make any Bohren fan smile. So grab a cigar and a fine glass of Scotch and kick back in your favorite chair for a few hours of fulfillment.

Written by: Michael
Rating: 9.5/10