Bohren & der Club of Gore: Patchouli Blue

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Bohren & der Club of Gore: Patchouli Blue
Momentum is a relative notion in the dark, doom-jazz world of Bohren & der Club of Gore. In the five years since its last studio album, Piano Nights (Pias Recordings, 2014), it has scaled back to a trio with the departure of long-time drummer Thorsten Benning. The shift from the earlier "doom metal jazz" was more than a subtle alteration. The German band, which has been together for almost thirty years, replaced one-time heavy metal guitarist Reiner Henseleit with tenor saxophonist/keyboardist Christoph Clöser in 1997. With that change, the sound of der Club of Gore took on the air of mysterious abstract meditation and gothic darkness. Patchouli Blue is consistent with the band's best work.

This is the trio formation as a small orchestra. Though Bohren & der Club of Gore is absent a full-time drummer, bassist Robin Rodenberg occasionally doubles on electronic drums, as do the other members. Clöser's sax, vibraphone and piano sporadically add effervescent traces to the nearly immobile pace of the music. Morten Gass plays organ, mellotron, piano, synthesizer, guitar and drums. Despite a dozen instruments among the group, the music often barely reaches the level of minimalism. Yet there is more to Patchouli Blue on careful listening. The exquisite, bluesy pieces "Sollen Es Doch Alle Wissen" and "Vergessen & Vorbei" are hypnotizing thanks largely to Clöser's dark, soulful accents and Gass' gently swirling effects. "Deine Kusine" borders on upbeat without ever breaking through to cheerful and the nine-minute title track has moments of full orchestration.

Bohren & der Club of Gore jokingly refer to this release of eleven Clöser/Gass compositions as "uneventful music." With their customary tempos, rarely exceeding the heartbeat of a blue whale, Patchouli Blue escapes having a numbing effect every time Clöser picks up his tenor and creates a transformative experience. Through these networks of melancholy, one can find an almost intangible light that irradiates a haunting soundtrack for a listener's imagination. Bohren & der Club of Gore is an enigma and perhaps the sub-genre labeling is part of the reason the group is not more widely known. It should be heard.

Track Listing

Total Falsch; Verwirrung Am Strand; Glaub Mir Kein Wort; Patchouli Blue; Deine Kusine; Vergessen & Vorbei; Sollen Es Doch Alle Wissen; Tief Gesunken; Zwei Herzen Aus Gold; Sag Mir, Wie Lang; Meine Welt Ist Schon.


Christoph Closer: saxophone, tenor; Morten Gass: keyboards; Robin Rodenberg: bass.

Additional Instrumentation

Christoph Clöser: Fender Rhodes, piano, vibraphone, drums; Morten Gass: organ, mellotron, piano, Moog, guitar, drums; Robin Rodenberg: drums.

Album information

Title: Patchouli Blue | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Pias Recordings

Post a comment about this album



Shop Amazon


A Conversation
Tim Hagans-NDR Big Band
Die Unwucht
Christopher Kunz & Florian Fischer
In Space
The Luvmenauts
Afrika Love
Alchemy Sound Project
Sunday At De Ruimte
Marta Warelis / Frank Rosaly / Aaron Lumley /...
Westward Bound!
Harold Land


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.