Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Scott Walker - Tilt (1995)

If you've been following this blog long enough, you might have figured out that my listening habits are insanely seasonal; I'm sure this isn't uncommon though.  So come winter, out comes Scott Walker, especially Tilt and after.  Somehow, apocalyptic dirges that sound like they're being narrated by an atrocity-obsessed malevolent skeleton just need the cold and the dark.

Tilt, the first full flowering of the Scott Walker who ended up on the cover of The Wire in 2012, started subtly with the beautiful cinematic string arrangements of Farmer In The City.  Walker's stunning vocal keens a lament for Pier Paolo Pasolini sounded like a natural update of his late 60s work, but that was only the first six minutes.  The odd scraping sounds and lupine croon of The Cockfighter are soon overtaken by a scalding electronic rhythm and Walker's disjointed lyrics, sounding both bang up to date and arcane, archaic, as the album progressed into influences from avant-garde lieder and industrial music, with strange percussive noises everwhere and a memorable church organ blast on Manhattan.  The spare, clean production holds up well, and the album's bleak themes point the way to where he's been going ever since.  Fingers crossed for another new album in the next couple of years?  I don't doubt for a second he's still got it in him.

I knew nothing of the horses, nothing of the thresher


  1. Now this is a work of ,near' undeniable sub-genius.Only surpassed in Scott's canon by "The Drift" in my opinion. One of thee most depression inducing couplets in musical history.

    1. Indeed they are. Wondered if he'd stretched himself too thin with "Bish Bosch", even though it's still in a different class to any of his contemporaries, but I loved Soused. Pretty sure he can drop another one or two masterpieces while he's still around.

  2. 'Tilt' was largely great. 'The Drift' more admirable than lovable. 'BB' was gratuitous ugliness. 'Soused' reeled things back in a little bit.

  3. One of the greatest records ever made, IMHO. If you don't have it, get it.

  4. I've only heard this once, around the time it came out. I have no immediate memories of it so time to get reacquainted! Many thanks!


  5. he's a weird one......I'm all chuffed and ready to go and then I never have that much fun listening to it. But I'll tell you, the "Heroes" lp wouldn't have ever occurred without him!