Bohren Und Der Club of Gore are a German jazz band who have been going on for a while. They make the kind of jazz that gets published in Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records, and for good reason: they are weird, lumbering and spectral. You’d expect Fantômas to play them in his glass condominium, during a night of regret.
All the features we just mentioned are turned up to 11 in Piano Nights, their most recent, and to our minds inaccurately titled album, Piano Nights. The title makes us think of something smooth and cool, a Ryan Gosling smirk and nostalgia for the too-remembered 1950s. Not here, buster. Piano Nights is a drawn out, epic dirge, the funereal march for all the gunslingers mown down in a Sergio Leone film, returning after the title credits to haunt their killer, like a cowboy version of the boss fight with The Sorrow in Metal Gear Snake Eater.
In this day of soaring drones and ghostly romance, we finally get to write about last year’s Statea, a compilation of minimal compositions performed by ambient producer Murcof and classical pianist Vanessa Wagner.
Again, the classicism of the title and the clean geometries of the artwork generate expectations which are betrayed in the most beautiful of ways. Statea is not a collection of exquisite musical processes converging on some platonic notion of order. No. Statea is reverberation, phantasmagoria and blank omen, a collection of abandoned rooms decorated by a Lynchian intelligence.
In its version of John Adams’ China Gates, we feel that the room is an abandoned scientific facility, a temple of big science where knowledge was pulled from the blackness of the sky and the deepness at the bottom of everything. Important things were discovered here, and the discoveries were celebrated, and the intensity of the celebrations was intense like Chemical Brothers touring Exit Planet Dust in some Mediterranean beach circa 1997. Echoes of all these things linger in China Gate’s yearning piano melodies, and the trepidation of its drops.