Scott Walker: 1943-2019 [part 4]

Walker sans chapeau…twice

[…continued from last post]

After the whirlwind of 2006-2007, Scott had one more fragment of activity before Walker Central went quiet for a few more years. He sang on the concluding track “The Big Sleep” on the sophomore Bat For Lashes album, Two Suns.” I’ve yet to hear this or even Bat For Lashes, for that matter. I can’t just listen to any new artist. usually I have to let them ripen fully before venturing into a listening relationship.

4AD ‎| UK | CD | CAD3220CD | 2012

When Walker was ready his second album for 4AD was released in December of 2012. “Bish Bosh” was an album I finally bought in the summer of 2013. It’s bracingly different from the previous two albums in that it seems to have a thick undercurrent of the blackest humor running beneath the abrupt juxtapositions of noise and what sound like snatches of jazz cut up and collaged into a piece of work that contains an orchestra on just three of its nine songs. The track “SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)” was nearly 22 minutes in length, and contained in its lyrics, comic insults that Walker would have grown up with as part if its lyrics. It’s less portentous than “The Drift” [what wouldn’t be?] and gloryoski, some rock guitar actually got some of the spotlight on a few of the tracks here. Was Walker mellowing with age? Or was he just observing the cosmic joke at the end of the abattoir of history?

4AD ‎| US | CD | CAD3428CD | 2014

Heads snapped back wonder when less than two years later, Walker combined forced with doom metal band SunnO))) to create “Soused.” Five tracks of ultradense music that I’ve actually yet to buy a copy of. Not that I didn’t have it it my hands… twice, during the tour of all three Amoeba Records stores in my 2014 tour of California. Even though it was on sale, I felt that it would be easy to get later and I’d be better off spending the money on other things of greater scarcity. That said, I have not seen a copy since. I must admit that the precedence of elder statesman of uncompromising art rock teaming up with metal band had been set just the year prior when the mind-boggling Lou Reed/Metallica team up, “Lulu” was released to a disbelieving populace. So this project contained much less shock value on the face of it. In both cases, each album would be the last new vocal recordings that either artist would release.

4AD | UK | CD | 2016 | CAD3620

But Walker had more music in any case still in him. I managed to buy the soundtrack to the film “Childhood Of A Leader” just six months after its release. I found it a very compelling piece of work that was richly redolent of Walker’s interests and themes even in the service of another’s film. Having not seen the film yet, I can only imagine how powerful the synchrony might be. It was so good that I really must get the “Pola X” soundtrack. Hopefully for less than the $50+ it’s currently going for. This was the last CD that Walker released before his death.

Alas, no physical copies of this OST exist… yet

But not the last music. It’s interesting. Last week, my wife brought home a DVD of the film “Vox Lux” and as I looked at the case, I couldn’t help but notice that it featured a soundtrack credited to Scott Walker. “Not the Scott Walker,” I mused. But after checking the oracle [some call it the internet…] I was astonished to see that Walker had indeed composed the score. It would be his last work, released in December of 2018 in digital formats only. I suspect that physical copies will follow, especially now following his death.

The man called Scott Walker managed to have a mind boggling third act to his artistic life that few could match. He went out on a place that saw him re-engaging with the public after years where only a juice ad was the last public sight of him for practically a decade. There was a documentary on his art. He produced and designed a concert of his music from “Tilt” and “The Drift” as performed by his hand-picked interpreters. He curated the 2000 Meltdown Festival. He released four vocal albums and several soundtrack works. He scored a modern dance piece. And most impressively of all, found a label that would let him pursue his own muse. He left behind a legacy of bracing work that will be inspiring musicians for decades to come. Exploratory probes into the darkness he saw at the heart of the human condition.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in obituary and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Scott Walker: 1943-2019 [part 4]

  1. Mark Moerman says:

    I love Bat For Lashes and have all of her albums. I will have to go back and listen to “The Big Sleep”, which is not a track that has ever particularly stood out for me. I must confess to knowing nothing about Scott Walker, other than being vaguely aware that he existed and was someone European musicians went on about.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Mark Moerman – Then there’s someone less clued in about Scott than I was! I really don’t know which direction to point you in first. Even I have nothing by The Walker Brothers. My gut says “Tilt.”


      • SimonH says:

        It depends where you’re coming from, if you like a bit of melody before heading right into the dark stuff I’d suggest the Boy Child compilation after maybe a starter of Walker Brothers hits, then the four Scott tracks on the Nite Flights album, Climate of Hunter and then Tilt. For me Tilt is probably as far as it goes in reality, I respect the musical choices made from Drift onwards but it’s not everyday listening for me, maybe I’m a lightweight though… It’s much like I feel about David Sylvian’s last couple of albums.


        • Tim says:

          I found Manafon and Blemish to be real low points for his work and almost never listen to them. Then there’s “When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima” which is 70 minutes of…..uh….yeah…..something…..and makes Manafon and Blemish seems like EDM albums. It’s a fine line between following your muse and losing your audience & the most excitement that I’ve seen out of his fanbase for a while is over vinyl reissues of the albums that have proper songs on them.

          Liked by 1 person

          • SimonH says:

            I tried with Manafon but no joy! Fire in the Forest from Blemish is lovely but I need to be in the mood for the rest. Nine Horses is great though and some of the one off tracks and collaborations are worthwhile. I know what you mean, like I say, I respect his integrity but the results aren’t really for me.

            Liked by 1 person

            • postpunkmonk says:

              SimonH – So then we’re all fine with jumping off the Sylvian bus?


            • Tim says:

              I did some interesting stuff years ago with The Only Daughter and an older track by him, mixing the two together, on a long mix that I have called “The Sirens of Autumn” (how long? 2:52:47 of seamless Sylvian) and that’s as far as I go there. Agree with present company that Nine Horses is his best in about a decade.
              Oddly enough he guests on other performers albums and some of that is quite good.
              Steve Jansen, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Joan as Police Woman all spring to mind.


          • postpunkmonk says:

            Tim – But those new Sylvian covers stink! Who let them out of the doghouse? I can wrap my head around “The Drift” and “Bish Bosh” easily. They are the furthest thing from boring to me. But “Blemish?” I’d rather listen to “An Index Of Metals” by Fripp + Eno! Thank goodness for that Nine Horses album or I’d say it’s all over for Sylvian. Dude looks like a grizzled Oakie dirt farmer now. But will Nick follow?


  2. SimonH says:

    Love that last line, I once took it for granted that artists did that, but recently I’ve come to realise we’re lucky when they do and of course even more so when they do it well. The real alternative to the mainstream and maybe something some of us need more than others.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.