Sunset Mission Brings Film Noir to Dark Jazz

Bohren is a very talented group of musicians who have put out a number of great albums since the 1990s. You can read up more on their wiki page which also includes a full discography. After listening to a wide variety of their tracks I have been most impressed by “Sunset Mission” which came out back in the year 2000.

Immediately you will notice the piano tones mixed in with tenor saxophone highlights. Bohren & der Club of Gore does not always use sax to enhance the music. But Sunset includes many differing tones within the album, all of which blend nicely with the dark jazz saxophone melodies. Although it is tough to label music into categories I have always found jazz to be spectacular. These sub-genre’s are mostly new to me but exploring the music is what makes this fun.

Sunset Mission clocks in at just about 80 mins of playtime. This is a fairly lengthy album to go through in its entirety, but if you have the time it is worthwhile. “Midnight Walker” and “Street Tattoo” are two of my personal favorites. But honestly I could rave about each of these tracks individually filling up pages upon pages. Each tone off the album is unique yet still feels apart of the overall experience.

Undoubtedly the saxophone really provides this film noir-style tonality onto the album. These tracks are mostly ambient so the lead roles are picked up by the instruments. Saxophone has always been a great lead because the solos are exquisite, captivating, and definitely unique in sound. I really like this quote from a Sputnikmusic review of the album:

The real highlight of Sunset Mission though, is Christoph Clöser’s fantastic saxophone playing, which sadly loses some of it’s importance in Bohren’s later albums. The rich emotional sax fades in at just the right moments before the music starts getting at all boring, playing unpredictable slow-motion melodies that sound totally improvised and always interesting.

Every song is very slow-paced with a feeling of dark gloomy thoughts. Not to say this is depressing, but more like a sinister representation of the unknown. This comes out during the ambient portions of each track where you are eagerly awaiting the next smooth transition. It is definitely an album you need to be in the mood for. It works perfect on rainy days or even just for some thinking space. I personally spend a lot of time reflecting on thoughts or just getting some writing done with this peaceful yet melancholy atmospheric album playing in the background.

And let me add if you are a fan of this album you will probably like Bohren’s other stuff. Gore Motel is a classic followed by Midnight Radio which were both released before Sunset. A handful of their newer works move away from the “private eye noir” tone into a more sorrowful dark jazz. But if you have never explored this genre before, Sunset Mission is quite possibly the best place to get started.

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Tyler is a true culture fanatic with love for comic books, music, movies, video games, and all forms of pop culture.

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