Black Earth by Bohren & Der Club Of Gore.
How to sustain the atmosphere of something you’ve enjoyed without flogging the work itself to death by repeated viewing? In the case of Twin Peaks, the subject of yesterday’s post, you can indulge yourself with spin-off merchandise like this Garmonbozia T-shirt. Or you could try playing the Twin Peaks Murder Mystery Board Game. I own the latter and while it provides some amusement the reduction of the first season’s enigmas to a set of board game rules doesn’t really work that well. Better by far are the two soundtrack CDs by Angelo Badalamenti, Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me, and the first Julee Cruise album, Floating Into The Night. And if that’s still not enough, there’s always Bohren & Der Club Of Gore.
Bohren… are a German “doom jazz” outfit whose origins in the hardcore scene and their enthusiasm for Black Sabbath explains both their name and the appearance of CD covers like the one for Black Earth (2002). But the music within contradicts all expectations. I was first alerted to them a few years ago when I saw them described as being “like the Twin Peaks soundtrack”. An initial “yeah, sure…” scepticism crumbled upon hearing their third album, Sunset Mission (2000), which really does sound like a continuation of Angelo Badalamenti’s slow, dark jazz scores. The fourth album, Black Earth, is better in many ways since it sounds less derivative, further reducing the rhythms to a slow crawl in the manner of doom metal band Earth. In place of the riffs of the doom-meisters you get a sullen saxophone wailing in the dark. Black Earth was followed by the even more minimal Geisterfaust (2005) which happens to have a blue flower on its cover. Coincidence or not? Their most recent album, Dolores (2008), lets some light return with an organ and vibraphone augmenting the slow evolution of each piece. Bohren & Der Club Of Gore are a great band who deserve wider recognition. If you’re a Lynch enthusiast then Sunset Mission and Black Earth are the ones to go for, I’ve been playing them continually all week.