I have dipped in and out of the waters of Bohren by listening to the odd song here and there, and while I always enjoyed it, it was usually the wrong time and place to be listening to it. Why would that be ? Well…I would be forced to listen to it while cleaning a toilet or frying onions, which sounds ridiculous but if you listen to this in the hustle and bustle of modern life (check me and my pro-Lit stylings) you miss the point completely. In criticism of my own point (not to get too meta) there are only a few suitable times and places for listening to this album.
1. In an empty funeral home at 3AM whilst lying in a coffin contemplating your own demise (which will be sooner than you think).
2. In an EVA suit lying on the moon, watching the Earthrise
3. Floating on a rowing boat on a lake in the precise middle of nowhere.
4. In the womb.
5. In a time free, non-defined space without organisms or gases or any kind of things at all.
Since none of these places are particularly easy to get to (without recriminations), the very least you can do is sit down and listen to it on headphones or a very, very good stereo (fuck you I’m old), ensuring that there are no disruptions. Then and only then will you begin to get a grip on the world of Bohren. Their sound hasn’t changed much on this album (from what I can remember of previous encounters) but it does seem to have slowed down a little and it wasn’t exactly speed metal before. In terms of composition, a simplistic, idiotic way of thinking of Bohren’s music would be “it’s like Richard Clayderman but at half speed”. The same melancholy piano and frosty synths but enhanced with the most sparse drumming, saxophone and vibraphone work conceivable then slowed down to a point where it’s almost drone. But the next note always comes eventually and it’s pretty much guaranteed to make you slightly sadder than the last. It’s not sad as in minor chords….it’s sad because its so very beautiful that it makes you wish the world could match it.
I don’t know if you need to buy more than one Bohren album but I do know that everyone should have at least one, and if you don’t already have one then you should make it this one.