Scott Walker + Sun O))): Soused (4AD)

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Scott Walker + Sun O))): Brando
Scott Walker + Sun O))): Soused (4AD)

Scott Walker's setting a breathless pace these days: it was usually a decade between albums but after The Drift (06) just six years before Bish Bosch and now only two years since that typically demanding, commanding art music.

For newcomers, London-based American-born Walker was the romantically brooding baritone on Walker Brothers pop hits in the Sixties, moved towards European music, and in the past three decades has intermittently released challenging albums of declamatory operatic-like (melo)drama in imaginative sonic settings with often impenetrable lyrics. Albums either grip you vice-like or you snicker at their pretension and often comic portentousness.

I'm mostly among his admirers and this – comparing only to his own work, of course -- is quite something.

With LA metal-noise merchants Sun O))) and guests providing buzzing sonic backdrops and chasms of disconcerting but melodic noise, Walker has appropriately claustrophobic, consistent and atmospherically uncomfortable settings for his emotionally dense and abstract poetics.

If there's a problem it's that his subjects – the emotionally damaged Marlon Brando, the massacre of innocents, unspoken fetishes – all get similarly stentorian delivery which leavens out nuance.

That said, this inspired collaboration across five long pieces counts among his best. Unlike anything you've heard before . . . unless it came from Walker.

A box set of Walker's earlier career is considered here and there is a lengthy archival interview with him here.

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