Bohren & der Club of Gore explores the infinite spaces within a musical note that join the heart and mind into a transcendental embrace on Patchouli Blue.
Patchouli is an aromatic plant within the family Lamiaceae which is also known as dead nettle. This family includes mint and sage. The earthy aroma of patchouli has been used as a base for perfume and to ward away insects. The oil is sometimes called hippy oil from its use in the 60s. The essential oil is reported to provide a calming and almost meditative effect upon the mind.
The color blue is associated with the deep blue ocean and the wide blue sky. Blue is most often thought of as calming and serene. Studies have shown the color blue to increase productivity while lowering the body’s pulse rate and temperature.
On their new album, Patchouli Blue, Bohren & der Club of Gore provides a space for the mind to explore. Like the smell of patchouli under a clear blue sky, the opening track “Total Falsch” (Totally Wrong) sets a tone of ease and wonder. Thoughts of the distance between stars, the infinity of time, and the feeling of your breath tumble in the mind with each brushstroke on the high hat and each note on the piano.
If you have heard of Bohren & der Club of Gore before, one listen to “Giaub Mir Kein Wort” (Believe Not A Word) and you’ll be on board. Listen to the progression at the 1:22 mark and you’ll be intrigued. Robin Rodenberg’s bass compels as Morten Gass utters rhetorical questions on the keyboards. You can not help but be captivated by this bare minimum of notes yielding such a bounty of expression.
The title track features the beautiful saxophone of Christoph Clöser. The opening phrasing suggests hope, as if greeting the dawn with anticipation of a wonderful day. There is just a hint of disturbance as the dusty desert guitars enter the mix. The atmosphere becomes bemused as the sax and guitar trade narratives to finish the piece. This one feels like a drive down the streets of Twin Peaks as the sun rides high in the sky.
Patchouli Blue ends with the oddly troubled “Meine Welt Ist Schön” (My World Is Beautiful). This song holds so much tension, you can feel it try to break you. The world seems anything but beautiful as the synths drone. One note may suggest a movement toward ease, but in the end, you are left unresolved. There is beauty, but it remains to be seen.
The music on Patchouli Blue by Bohren & der Club of Gore is thoughtful and strangely charming. Seekers of the extraordinary and unusual will enjoy this album. If you want to feel vast, then you need Patchouli Blue.