Bohren & Der Club Of Gore - Beileid
It’s a perfectly sunny spring night. The windows in our apartment are cracked but will be shut soon as dusk cools the air to a chill. I’m listening to Bohren & der Club of Gore’s new album Beileid while spying on a chubby father and son duo toss a baseball to each other in the small playground across the street. The boy’s sister circles around them on a pink bicycle, wearing a purple helmet and matching backpack full of carelessness. The long shadows of a shortly setting sun stretch over everything like abysmal fingers. Soon they’ll form a fist and the playground, father, son, sister, bicycle and baseball will reside in darkness; the kind of darkness that best befits the listening of an album by Bohren & der Club of Gore.
So why am I attentively receiving Beileid with such a seemingly antithetical scene before me? Well, as it turns out, it’s the perfect cinema for an album called Condolences in English. Beileid is grim, as those familiar with the band would expect. The three hauntingly slow eulogies nearly never progress as they insist on staying with you like an inescapable sorrow. Of course it makes for a magnificent score to a recent tragedy or a dinner party for the chronically depressed. Bohren & der Club of Gore are masters of bereavement blues. There’s a difference this time though with Beileid and, I don’t know if it’s simply my emotional projection or the band’s intention but, it isn’t immediately apparent. In order to appreciate the atypical subtext, I think you have to be alone. I think you have to be alone and looking at or thinking about something beautiful that you’ll never have or enjoy. That’s where Beileid separates itself from its predecessors: there’s a beauty within the lingering grief. With it you are mourning something gone or, as in my case, something that will never be. There is always a foreign magnificence in the deepest of despondencies. After all, the more brilliant something is, the more intently we suffer its absence. Beileid acknowledges that, yes, what you’re lamenting was/is something very special. You’re justified and right in grieving it. This musical affirmation not only takes their product to a new apex but makes for a deeply personal experience.
So how fitting a name: Beileid. How entirely appropriate that this latest release, while serenading the losses you’ve suffered and those you’ve yet to endure, sends with it its sincerest condolences.
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