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From the Sun Lounger to the Electric Chair: Scott Walker's Experimental Genius Music

W When journalist Keith Altham visited the Walkers Brothers' London home in late 1965, he noticed that a Victorian front door was under one of the beds. It came from a house where Jack the Ripper had committed one of his murders. The beheaded heartbreakers had bought it at auction. Real or not, such a door was a portal to a wealth of terrible memories, inspired by a collection of fictions, hideous barbarism and unsolvable secrets. Perhaps here are the seeds of Scott Walker's extraordinary, contrary late style.

His career settled on a sunlit schooner from Orchester Balladry and ended with a twilight journey in the heart of darkness. When Walker returned in the mid-70s, his work became an alcoholic blur of faux country and western, dirty funk and light film themes. In the two years between Stretch and Nite Flights, published in 1

978, Walker read Chomsky's writings on US foreign policy and human rights violations and rose from the cabaret into the battlefields. In The Electrician from Nite Flights, a torturer's nightmare is temporarily transported to a resounding orchestral rhapsody with Latin overtones before he returns inexorably to the horror of the Criminal Court.

to express the idea of ​​a destroyed civilization. Ornament and harmony are rejected in favor of dissonance and silence. Late-style artists go beyond what is conventionally acceptable, but stubbornly refuse to satisfy popular demand. He cited Adorno's vision of the disappointed romantic, "who is almost completely ecstatic with new and monstrous modern forms – fascism, anti-Semitism, totalitarianism and bureaucracy". For me, this is a perfect summary of Walker's position from Tilt. Like a kidnapper who puts you in a car, he forces you into a scene of disorientation, trauma, and violence. From the sunbed to the electric chair.

The music he painstakingly edited after Tilt, in particular The Drift, Bish Bosch and Soused (with the US noise band Sunn O))))), revealed a deterrent zone with cavities and vacuum Sonic Magic Realism, and cutups Dystopias collapsed in malformed packages. The rhythm in Walker's later music is often heavy and ragged, and is provided by rock drums and bass, or small cow bells or chimes. His songs were tightly controlled, including passages where time seemed to be floating. He spoke of "great blocks of sound", like the dense masses of threatening sound and drone in the work of Xenakis, Ligeti or Lachenmann. It stuck to Europe's post-war avant-garde, not the mechanical minimalism of American contemporary classical music.

Regarding his texts, Walker once said: "It starts with something we know – a political question – and then it drifts into another world and into something else. Then all kinds of different elements take place. "A single song could refer to molecular biology and sulphurous farts, or to a distant star cluster from a dwarf in the yard of Attila the Hun. His lyrics revel in unfamiliar words and technical terminology. Gaze too opaque at its most opaque expressions ("Turnshoes," "Mouse Bells," "Tapir Nosher Phuts," "Can not Pass by a Man with Cereus Grass," "Epicanthic Knobbler of Ninon"), and you'll beat yourself in a cognitive void. The only remedy is to follow the advice of Track Seven of Climate of Hunter: "Try it yourself and hear it out."

From Tilt's setbacks to the press holes of Corps de Blah and Herod's drone metal 2014: If anything distinguishes Walker's late-night sound, it's the tension between orchestrated textures, sound effects and sparkling explosions of overdriven rock power. Walker has also got used to the repetition of robots known from industrial music. Although she was marketed as an Arock artist, it sounded nothing like Walker's later style, though artists such as Diamanda Galás, John Zorn, Jondy Greenwood's Penderecki-inspired soundtracks, and late-Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson used themes that dealt with Walker's own elements , David Bowie, a lifelong friend and admirer, allowed similar style changes, but never approached Walker's immersion in the horror show of modern humanity to the same degree.

Very little music of the past hundred years is as gloomy, bruised, disturbed, demeanor as Walker. But it was also rich in black and skatological humor, and the man was very different from the material. "Most of my songs," Walker once told me, are about frustration, about not capturing and losing a spiritual moment. Most of my songs are spiritual at the core. I try not to be too cynical, otherwise it's too difficult. "In the Noel Angel Universe," spiritual "should not be confused with" religious. "However, this great constellation of flickering ashes is still one of the most wonderful innovations in the history of folk music, a swan song that is constantly hanging on the piano and follows feathers that never completely float to earth.

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