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Editors’ Notes

Nothing in Scott Walker’s catalog prepared anyone for Tilt. Released eleven years after his last solo album, Climate of Hunter, it uses that album’s arranger, Brian  Gascoigne, and turns popular music on its head. These are songs based on textures and tonal chunks that play like art songs where nothing you know about Scott Walker is of use. Sure, the voice has always been a peculiar instrument, but here it sounds strangulated. “Farmer In the City (Remember Pasolini)” is based on a poem by Pier Paolo Pasolini and then taken into a swamp where the softly sawing strings attempt to bring the listener to shore. “Face On Breast” is thoroughly impressive. It ticks away like a bomb threatening to blow the tension wide open. Yet, Walker keeps things moving with uneasy whistling. “Bolivia ‘95” begins close to a standard tune with its turtle-pace landing on the beat before turning to mania. This is not easy-listening music. It takes a serious reorganizing of listening habits to train one’s ear. After that, the reward is immense. Hard to imagine, but his next album, 2006’s The Drift, would take things even further.

Customer Reviews

Like it dropped from the sky

"Tilt" is absolutely stunning recording. When it was released there was absolutely nothing like it on the planet. It's still amazing, but "The Drift" has taken the ideas here further. Still, I prefer "Tilt" as it's not as scary as "The Drift" (seriously, "The Drift" would make a nice soundtrack for nightmares) and, IMHO, it's much more listenable. If I had to describe the sound, I'd say it's a merging of industrial noise and operatic vocals. I'd also say that it's a revolutionary recording and something any adventurous music fan will enjoy.

take it from Goldfrapp

in the "30 Century Man" film, A. Goldfrapp is shown listening to this album (in part; she listens to older works as well), and, smoking a thin black cigarette (no doubt rejecting a triune God) she says: "This.....This is....This is proper music, you know?". I thought that was a pretty high intra-musician compliment. Then Eno himself listens to it, and gets sort of angry, saying that essentially, this man is the ONLY example of this sort of avant-garde music. He also says so many bloody bands sound exactly like Talking Heads and (made me laugh) like Roxy Music (!). He knew what he was saying. If listening to your record makes Brian Eno sad because it's so ahead of its time, and you are the only one who does it - I think that'd be a compliment of the highest order.....

Still, it is very very very weird music.

An Album of Peculiar Grandeur

I'm not going to go into the specifics of why this album was made and how ahead of its time it was. This is pretty thoroughly covered by other reviews and by the iTunes notes. However to thoroughly examine the process of the songs and the poetry of the lyrics, One has to delve into the psyche of the artist himself: Scott Walker.

Starting Farmer in the city: One gets a strong impression of dystopia in urban life and the advantage people take of the naïveté of a newcomer. Of the scope of his second song Cockfighter, it covers a very specific disappearance someone and references the loss of innocentsthroughout history. It's very disturbing in it's feeling, very sparing. The town of bouncer see bouncer is one of an outsiders independence Independence from mainstream society leading into Manhattan where this independence is taking to excess and the degradation of others especially newcomers and immigrants. The first three songs on the second side face on breast, Bolivia 95, patriot, they all seem to deal with an absent God. I also more able to say with clarity that he mentions the use of narcotics of all types and the incoming peril and darkness caused by the abuse. The ending tracks Tilt and Rosary are the only somewhat hopeful songs on this record with themes of turning back from extinction and scraping together some semblance of goodness in oneself and society.

Biography

Born: January 9, 1943 in Hamilton, OH

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most enigmatic figures in rock history, Scott Walker was known as Scotty Engel when he cut obscure flop records in the late '50s and early '60s in the teen idol vein. He then hooked up with John Maus and Gary Leeds to form the Walker Brothers. They weren't named Walker, they weren't brothers, and they weren't English, but they nevertheless became a part of the British Invasion after moving to the U.K. in 1965. They enjoyed a couple of years of massive success there (and a couple of hits...
Full Bio