Patchouli Blue – Bohren & der Club of Gore

You can sum up Patchouli Blue in one word pretty easily: slick. For dark jazz band Bohren & der Club of Gore, atmosphere triumphs all as they explore how ambient soundscapes can be combined with haunting jazz progressions to create an unnerving sound. Comprised of members from various grindcore and doom metal bands, you can see how their experiences influence their current music. Much like their previous work, Patchouli Blue has a distinctly heavy atmosphere that has a certain grace from its loungey jazz elements.

The album is full of different ideas that creep into the brooding, slow-burn of textures from the saxophone and organ. In particular, the synths are used to incredible effect here: drawing out notes for long sections of ambience and atmosphere. This effect keeps listeners on the edge of their seats as they wait for the next chord progression or a saxophone passage to take control of the song. The stretched-out notes give the album a hazy, dreamy feel while still surrounding the listeners in the darkness of the minimalist instrumentations. Each composition takes its time as it conjures up different atmospheres that slowly draw you into the movement of the piece. The individual components of the songs move masterfully at their own pace which allows space for the notes to breathe and swell into gorgeous sounds.

While the slow pace causes listeners to anticipate every move, some sections of Patchouli Blue feel a little too long-winded for their own good. As much as the drawn-out notes create a unique atmosphere, they can also be a detriment in the longer songs where there is almost nothing happening within the empty spaces. However, these moments don’t detract from the vision of the album itself and despite requiring some patience from listeners, the payoff is quite effective. There aren’t many bands that sound like Bohren & der Club of Gore in the way they combine jazz ballads, doom-inspired atmospheres, and unsettling ambient sections. Patchouli Blue feels very much like a classic film noir in the way that there’s something sinister hidden just beneath the intimate chord progressions threatening to break the tension at any moment.

Must Listens: Tief Gesunken, Verwirrung am Strand, Patchouli Blue


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I turned my incoherent ramblings on music, anime, and video games into an entire blog.

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