Thursday, May 11, 2006

'You Could Easily Picture This In the Current Top Ten'

I survived my first completely homogenic listening of Scott Walker's The Drift. The packaging, which may be different than the for sale one (this one is catalogue # drift1) is a fucking black hole in your hands. Any light immediately around it is instantly absorbed. Even the insides of the jacket and sleeves are black. I'm playing it now pretty loud, and just hope the neighbors don't think someone is being murdered, or has already been murdered and those sounds are the aftermath. Did I mention it's analog(ue)? An mp3, m4a, ogg(?) is never going to sound like this, and I can only imagine how it sounds out of speakers one notch above my Radio Shack specials. Remember those Disney LP/storybooks, where you follow along with the action of the record? This is the antithesis. I followed along with the lyrics in this 12 inch book of blackness and had the shit scared out of me. The LP format is perfect because it gives you breathing time when you get up to flip and change records. You need it. It is not a passive listening experience. I read this interview prior to the listening, and while some of the songs are "explained" they become no less provocative or oblique. I cannot believe this album exists. That this came from one guy's head who appears to be fully functional in society. Strings sound like people screaming. They had to build a percussion instrument for one song because he heard it a certain way and nothing existed to make that sound. One of the things that makes this record even more remarkable is putting it in retrospect to all the ones he made before it, the progression his career has made. While perhaps sonically distant, the world of Montague Terrace isn't that far removed from that of the Flugleman. I guess Scott (1)-4 really doesn't have anything as disturbing as donkey punching or pee pee soaked trousers though. Oh wait; there's the wet head of his first case of ghonorrhea, but he didn't WRITE that one. There are pictures of him throughout the book, not surpisingly they are blurry and he's wearing sunglasses. The full body shot at the end is the best. John said "He looks like an alien in Converse."

He probably is one.

The final song, coming in on the heels of a demonic Looney Tunes interpretation, seriously feels like Scott Walker is tucking you back in your bed after everything that just transpired in the last hour of your life, which felt more like an entire lifetime anyway. You finally drift off to sleep and have dreams of him playing "Cossacks Are" on Top of The Pops. I don't think I could exist forever in that world, but it's nice to visit once in a while to put everything into perspective.

(Special thanks to Dave for getting this in my hands.)