Bohren & der club of gore play what has been termed “doom jazz.” Think of doom metal, only make it even slower... no slower than that. The group consists of keyboards, double bass, saxophone, mellotron, and a drummer. The music is certainly jazz, if not exactly how you’re accustomed to hearing it.
The bass player plays a double bass that has been down tuned to the point where one wonders why the strings aren’t smacking against the fingerboard. Seriously, if it weren’t for the particular tonal quality and decay pattern of notes produced by a bass, one would think that the notes were being produced on a keyboard. They’re that low. The drumming is impressive in its own way. Traditional jazz style playing is used but it’s broken up and (surprise) slowed down. I often find myself wondering how he keeps his mind on the music. The seemingly occasional high hat stomps are so far apart that I like to imagine him reading something and every once and a while hitting a part of his kit. The keyboards take the standard role of creating a textured surface for the soloist as in non doom jazz. But due to the spacing of notes and the speed of the music the keyboards often take on a more atmospheric effect. One might think that this would cause the music to lose some of the dower feeling. However due to the incomprehensibly low bass, the keyboards take on more of a sinister tone. The saxophone playing is delightful. It seems to come from nowhere and always be on the verge of disappearing. Breathy lines caressing the slow thunder that the rest of the band is playing. All of it bringing to mind images of rainy black and white films about detectives. Yes every revue mentions this but it’s true, this music sounds like the soundtrack to an old film noir movie.
One wouldn’t be out of line in worrying that due to the speed of the music that boredom might set in. While I suppose that very well happen to some people, for me the music is interesting enough that I don’t mind the slow speed. In fact that’s what makes it interesting. When most people think of extreme, they think fast. This music is extreme in the exact opposite direction, extremely slow, and yet somehow it keeps from being ponderous. Though some of their earlier material is at somewhat of an accelerated rate (comparatively), it is by no means speedy.
It all makes for a very unique sound and one that I thoroughly enjoy. If you like your music fast or your jazz in something other than minor keys, this might not be for you. I personally suggest “Black Earth” I think it’s pretty much the best of the bunch.
LUDER, SAMBA UND TAVERNEN DEMO
BOHREN UND DER CLUB OF GORE 7” e.p.
Label: Burt Reynolds Mustage Records
GORE MOTEL CD
Reissued in 2005 from Epistrophy as 2 LP`s in a black box
BOHREN / WALD Split 7” e.p.
MIDNIGHT RADIO Double CD
SUNSET MISSION CD
BLACK EARTH CD and Double LP
Reissued in 2004 from IPECAC
*Discography shamelessly lifted from the bands web site: http://www.bohrenundderclubofgore.de/