Thursday, September 16, 2010


The cover reveals everything and nothing,  and that's what one is going to get here. Its dark and ambiguous visual architecture (is that an eye, a hand, feathers?) seems more memento mori than diary,  a futile grasp at something.  Ten years plus after the gauzy revelations of CLIMATE OF HUNTER came the second installment of Scott Walker's sonic and poetic re-invention,  TILT (1995).  A hint to the listener comes during "Farmer in the City (Remembering Pasolini)".  The singer states "remember that dream,  we talked about it so many times...",  as if we're expected to understand and embrace the sleep that brings impossible imagery and half-understood mutterings.  This is the album where Scott finally lets go of his formidable baritone with Camus fixations and dives off the deep end into a very, very private world.  The music reflects this all through TILT.  Electronics,  noise,  clustered percussion,  traditional instrumentation and silence share single tracks,  especially evident in the contrasts that form "The Cockfighter".  The swelling massed strings of "Farmer in the City (Remembering Pasolini)" are especially poignant and one of the few returns to Scott's past glories.  But what is he talking about in these songs?  I just don't know,  yet references to religion,  art,  film,  contemporary events,  and politics populate the songs until little miracles emerge that just need to be experienced before critical faculties come into play.  Much like the guitar graced "Blanket Roll  Blues" that brought CLIMATE OF HUNTER to a conclusion,  TILT ends with "Rosary",  Scott on his Telecaster.  He boasts of various rituals and devotions,  but ultimately exhausted,  sings "and I gotta quit,  and I gotta quit".  He didn't, of course.  THE DRIFT emerged eleven years later from a man still possessed by sacrifice,  artistic ambition,  and disappearance into song.

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