Vintage dark-ambient-noir-jazz-doom from the German masters of the field, Bohren & Der Club Of Gore. Black Earth, dating from 2002, is a particularly strong example of their pitch-black sound: the background vibes of the jazz club at the end of the universe. This moody work is reissued on CD and on double vinyl LP by Play It Again Sam.
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- Black Earth by Bohren & Der Club Of Gore
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Chief architects of the whole doom jazz thing, Bohren and Der Club of Gore made ‘Black Earth’ back at the turn of the millennium, positing terrifying drone hymns with slow-as-shit jazz fusion, as if taking literally all of the really difficult bits out of weird-era Miles Davis and just keeping the drums and keys -- plus the occasional sweeping horn gesture. I don’t know if you can credit them for bringing together the pace of doom and the timbre of jazz, but they certainly perfected their own little corner of it, suggesting you could improvise your way out of pitch black darkness.
‘Black Earth’ barely changes over its hour course, merely letting its jazz band grow around sustained chords and a cavernous production suggesting the deep listening of Pauline Oliveros. The band are playing incredibly slowly, of course: the bass walks in slow motion, the sax only plays in a troubled lament, and the piano sounds like it’s… being played in a black hole. Metal bands like Black Sabbath and Om spring to mind, but it’s that droning, emptying sound that really characterises Bohren and Der Club of Gore -- it’s as if they’re trying to form a band where nothing could ever grow.
Still a lovely little landmark, this record, and this reissue just takes me back to that feeling of having a dementor suck the life out of me as I listen to my favourite Kenny Dorham record. Chilled and hopeless, it is.
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