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The Drift  (4AD / Beggars)  mai 2006

Not only will The Drift give you nightmares – IT IS a nightmare.

It's the most horrific, beautiful, disgusting, compelling, repellent, majestic, and frightening record, I've ever heard. To listen to it is to be hustled handcuffed through the architecture of another mans bad, bad dream.

And when it ends as abruptly as a nightmare, it is seemingly without redemption, lacking transcendence, minus any state of grace. The end of the world has, it seems, already happened and here's the mirror in which to view it, boys. Rack up a line of "Black Cocaine" and beat that maggoty meat as the rivers burn and the towers tumble onto churches.

Those of you vaguely familiar with the brand name of Scott Walker may have some vaselined image of a pretty blonde haired boy with an old mans voice crooning romantic ballads to an ornately seductive orchestral backing.

Well, forget it.

That romantic torch singer died in the mid seventies. The records have consequently, been much less forthcoming while increasingly… challenging . But this one is a moonwalk mile away from even the most recent. There have been two other Scott solo records since 1980. The still -life proto pop of 1984's Climate of hunter and the orchestral industrialism of 1995's Tilt.

Both should have killed the widely held image of Scott Walker as a seductive crooner stone dead but still it persists. Maybe The Drift will finally do it. This is no pop or rock record, even compared to the stigmata of Tilt.

The Drift abandons almost utterly the traditional infrastructure of the ballad; verses, bridges, chorus. And is more total for it. By comparison, Tilt still had a paw paw in the conventional, but The Drift seems to bring in a new vocabulary with itself even as it starts to speak.

The militaristic intent and groove of the opener, "Cossacks are" is the least shocking and the funniest. Scott seems to be quoting his own reviews as lyrics and one finds a chuckle in the "Current top ten" line. From here on in though, things become much less familiar. Lyrically, it's as if the singer is a conduit, channelling the voices of those long dead and as yet unborn.

Subject matter ranges from Mussolini and mistress Clara to the "Six foot foetus" of Elvis still born twin Jesse. And then there's the sound of it. Amidst one piece, the ghost of Françoise hardy recites some prose about a trapped swallow. She is accompanied by what sounds like a Native American penny whistle, the sound of a mallet hitting beef and the sound of the man swinging the mallet grunting.

Orchestras flow from rusty faucets flooding the whole tower of song, there is the sound of a panic room being breached, a foal born drowning in an abattoir…there are even some guitars. The 63 year old Scott sings fluidly in a watery neutral tone throughout, recites in a parched speaking voice and even spits at himself in the final song. Willow wisp like, we sense the spirit of Orson Welles, Miles Davis, Burroughs, and Cage.

A squadron of method and spirits assembled for this exercise. In addition, the presence and legacy of 9/11, the holocaust, high mid and low level corruption, armies of rapists, the birth of Rock'n'Roll…all abound through a "musical" landscape less produced and rather, seemingly recorded. The pieces themselves (in reality one whole split into ten) are not so much compositions but more like transcriptions. The effect is less like a film or record and more akin to sitting on stage during some theatre production in hell.

The dynamics are stunning. One moment settled on the hair of a Toe the very next flying above Africa at night. Sound is cued to lyric as with a camera tracking locales in a movie. The orchestra unravels like black magma, mosquitoes cloud your face, bodies hit the plaza around you, while something once called Scott Walker soliliquies straight ahead.

This then is a work to frighten the dead.

 

A lire aussi sur Froggy's Delight :

Une 2ème chronique de l'album The Drift de Scott Walker


Anthony Reynolds         
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# 16 juin 2019 : C'est la fête !

Vendredi prochain, ce sera la Fête de la Musique, une raison supplémentaire pour en écouter de la bonne en vous baladant dans notre sélection culturelle de la semaine, avec également bien entendu du théâtre, du cinéma, des expos et de la littératures.

Du côté de la musique :

"Frescobaldi : Toccate e partite d'intavolatura di cimbalo, libro primo" de Christophe Rousset
"Ravel l'exotique" de Ensemble Musica Nigella & Takénori Némoto & Marie Lenormand & Iris Torrosian & Pablo Schatzman
"Rouen dreams" de Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe & Friends
"Antonio Salieri : Tarare" de Les Talens Lyriques & Christophe Rousset
"N'obéir qu'à la terre" de Louise Thiolon
"... Ni précieuse" de Malakit
"Différent" de Monsieur
"Women's legacy" de Sarah Lenka
"At the end of the year" de Thomas Howard Memorial
"Génération guerre sainte" de Torquemada
et toujours :
"Appareil volant imitant l'oiseau naturel" de Boule
"Hypersensible" de Cat Loris
"Strange creatures" de Drenge
Petit tour à Beauregard, qui approche, pour y parler des découvertes. Nous avions déjà évoqué le reste de la programmation
"Strome" de Martin Kohlstedt
"Arrivals & Departures" de The Leisure Society
"Attack of the giant purple lobsters" de Washington Dead Cats

Au théâtre :

les nouveautés de la semaine :
"L'étrange affaire Emilie Artois" au Théâtre de la Contrescarpe
"La Magie de l'argent" au Théâtre Aleph à Ivry
"Huckleberry Finn" au Théâtre de la Huchette
"Noire" au Théâtre du Rond-Point
"Homme encadré sur fond blanc" au Théâtre Tristan Bernard
"Un drôle de mariage pour tous" au Théâtre Daunou
"Guigue & Plo" au Théâtre du Marais
des reprises :
"Hiroshima, mon amour" aux Théâtre des Bouffes parisiens
"Matka" au Théâtre Elisabeth Czerczuk
"Dîner de famille" au Café de la Gare
"Hypo" au Théâtre du Marais
et la chronique des spectacles à l'affiche en juin

Expositions avec :

dernière ligne droite pour :
"Les Nabis et le décor" au Musée du Luxembourg
"Rouge - Art et Utopie au pays des Soviets" au Grand Palais

Cinéma :

les films de la semaine :
"Le choc du futur" de Marc Collin
"Bunuel après l'âge d'or" de Salvador Simo

Lecture avec :

"Au péril de la mer" de Dominique Fortier
"Etre soldat de Hitler" de Benoit Rondeau
"La nation armée" de André Kaspi
"Le karaté est un état d'esprit" de Harry Crews
"Le rêve de la baleine" de Ben Hobson
"Les deux vies de Sofia" de Ronaldo Wrobel
et toujours :
"Alice" de Heidi Perks
"J'ai cru qu'ils enlevaient toute trace de toi" de Yoan Smadja
"Présumé coupable" de Vincent Crase
"Une histoire de la Nouvelle France : Français et Amérindiens au XVI siècle" de Laurier Turgeon
"Vue pour la dernière fois" de Nina Laurin

Bonne lecture, bonne culture, et à la semaine prochaine.

           
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