Monday, June 12, 2006

brain running down along spear from the wound in the eye hole

The Drift by Scott Walker sounds like a lot of things: ranging from a soundtrack to a David Lynch movie to an opera by Schoenberg. However, if one had to describe the musical style of The Drift, it would be either avant-garde or expressionism. The songs are strangely composed and the music is extremely abstract: it is randomly structured. Walker plays with the idea of time as he stretches, broadens, speeds up and slows down various stages of his songs. In addition, Walker employs a speech-voice singing style, very similar to Suicide or Xiu Xiu’s freakout vocal style, creating the feeling of hysteria. Indeed, this feeling of hysteria upraises as Walker sings "I’m the only one left alive, I’m the only one left alive..." repeatedly at the end of "Jesse"; making the ending section absolutely chilling! The Drift continues with "Jolson and Jones", which middle jazz fusion section sounds like something out of the Lost Highway soundtrack. Again, this jazz fusion sound appears at the seven-minute mark of "Cue". The lyrics cannot get any more abstract than "Hand Me Ups", what the hell is Walker singing about?? Nevertheless, I love the song! The second last track, "The Escape", despites multi-levels of fear and horror. The listener gets a surprise shock when freakout vocals and music enters at the 2:44 mark. This terrifying excerpt of "you and me against the world... world’s about to end..." eventually ends as the vocal and music soften. That is until the 4:10 mark, where a mutated voice appears and it is backed up by the strumming of the minor chords. Musically, The Drift by Scott Walker is not for everyone. It is very avant-garde and at times, seems very pretentious. You will either like it right from the beginning or hate it forever. If you dislike it after the first listen, don't waste your time as this album will not grow on you after several listens. For me, perhaps one of the appeals to The Drift is Walker’s unexpected directions in treating each of his songs as every track is a surprise!

Jolson and Jones
Hand Me Ups
The Escape

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