on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2012 10 Dez

Bish Bosch Transmutation

von: Bob T Bright Filed under: Blog | TB | Tags:  Comments off

There are numerous breath-taking moments on ‘Bish Bosch’ – in fact, rather like in a Kurosawa movie, where every frame is full of energy and dynamism – even where nothing appears ostensibly to be ‘happening’, in each track on the album almost every moment is replete with suggested meaning or, almost as strongly, the absence of it. For me, there are two particularly stunning moments. The first of these can be found on SDSS14+13B (Zercon, a Flagpole Sitter) after 16:33’. In his latter day work, Walker’s voice has consciously been used in such a way as to remove ‘emotion’ or ‘character’ from it – to become as neutral a medium as possible for the lyrics. On ‘Tilt’ and ‘the Drift’ in particular this approach has been adhered to quite rigorously. On BB, in contrast, something very interesting has happened: whilst some tracks reveal the same ‘neutrality’ – at least at various moments, there is now running through the album a fascinating loosening of the shackles, which sees Walker’s voice at times a mature mirror of his work on the four 70s solo works; whilst at others it screams, double (or multi?-tracked) with rage and, at the moment referred to above – the significance of which I can’t really fathom, the timbre of the voice is such that you could almost be hearing the teenage Scotty Engel  singing the words ‘don’t forget to blink, least your eyeballs dry up’. When I heard this, I wondered whether it was an out-take from an early recording session, where the 14-year old nascent songwriter had made his first public attempt to make public his singular writing style – only to find that the precocious ‘and dangle on your cheeks like Caesar’s shrivelled Coglione’ wasn’t something that the people at Orbit were ready for! The other incredible moment comes in the same ‘song’ – seconds after the Voice (I refer to it as though it were a character in its own right) has assumed the familiar persona of the Crooner, which so many would like Scott Walker to revert to being, for a few bars, which I italicise purposely, because it then transmutes – quite literally into ‘Ba-s’ – first one ‘Ba’, then a string of them, before finally becoming a cacophony of multi-layered ‘Ba-s’. It is a stunning chain of events. I believe that ‘Barbarian’ was a term given by the ancient Greeks to anyone who did not speak their language and for whom such repellent speech sounded uncultured and actually unworthy of being named a language – just ‘BA’ – ‘BA-BA-BA’. It is as though, on this one track, Walker – far from becoming a parody of himself, as one reviewer has suggested, has on the contrary playfully sucked into a black hole / brown dwarf (they’re pretty much the same thing for me) all of the various permutations of which his voice is capable, together with all of the words he has used – conventional or abstruse from his Walker Brother days, through the first period of solo work to more recent work and allowed all of it to transmute into its essence: vibrations – ‘BA-BA-BA’. Lev Vygotsky, the Soviet Psychologist, once wrote that “a thought can be compared to a cloud shedding a shower of words” and in highlighting in this track the purity of consciousness over the relative grossness of words Walker has probably got a little closer to spiritual truth to which all great works of art aspire.

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