Review: Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Dolores (2008)


artist: Bohren & Der Club of Gore
release: Dolores
format: CD, 2xLP
year of release: 2008
label: [PIAS]
dur­a­tion: 58:23

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

As some read­ers will recall, I con­cluded my eclipse review of Geister­faust - the very first on this web­site - with the obser­va­tion that its end­ing left many aven­ues open for its fol­lowup. Now, three years on, that fol­lowup is here, and I was a bit sur­prised by the res­ults at first.

Instead of con­tinu­ing along the min­im­al­istic road that Geister­faust thrived on, Dolores is a step back in the dir­ec­tion of earlier Bohren mater­ial. Like the canon­ical Black Earth, Dolores is halfway between the dark urban jazz of Sun­set Mis­sion and the empti­ness of Geister­faust. Now, con­trary to pop­u­lar opin­ion, I never did con­sider Black Earth the best album by the band, pre­fer­ring either the richer or scarcer extremes of the sur­round­ing albums. Dolores, how­ever, is some­thing dif­fer­ent.

At the album’s first listen, I was slightly dis­ap­poin­ted, pre­cisely because I feared a return to the Black Earth style. I just couldn’t let this album go, though, and it hasn’t left my music play­ers since its release. I must have heard it a least a couple dozen times, which is a lot before I gen­er­ally write a review. The reason, I think, is that this album is far more mature than Black Earth was, with much bet­ter song­writ­ing and sound.

A few impres­sions: The opener “Staub” has an atmo­sphere to rival that of the sub­lime “Zeigefinger”, fea­tur­ing an impec­cably timed lead melody on Rhodes piano. Another favour­ite of mine is the sleazy jazz track “Still am Tresen”, which, if I under­stood the band cor­rectly live, has some­thing to do with hanging around in bars. The sax­o­phone is also back from its near absence from the pre­vi­ous album, though in a slightly more mod­est role than before that time. Near the end of the album we find the great, min­im­al­istic organ & Rhodes piece “von Schnä­beln”, a beau­ti­ful and dark inter­lude before the two final tracks, which prove once again that Bohren has a pecu­liar tal­ent for writ­ing songs that would sound out of place any­where else than at the end of an album.

And what an album it turned out to be… These four Ger­mans have turned dark jazz into an art, and this, their sixth full-length album, is one of the crown­ing achieve­ments on a career that was already impress­ive, both live and on record­ing. It comes both on CD and as a styl­ish gate­fold double vinyl. Abso­lutely essen­tial for lov­ers of dark urban music with an abstract touch.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

[vinyl track­list]

1. Staub (7:50)
2. Schwarze Biene (Black Maja) (8:12)

3. Karin (3:36)
4. Unk­erich (5:29)
5. Still am Tresen (3:57)

6. Welk (6:15)
7. Orgel­blut (6:12)

8. von Schnä­beln (3:55)
9. Faul (5:55)
10. Wel­ten (6:51)

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