Scott Walker (1943-2019)

scott walker

Mr. Walker performing on television in an undated photo. After leaving the Walker Brothers in 1967, he began a solo career that became a rejection of his rock-star phase, eventually retreating into the studio to create avant-garde music that was hard to categorize. Credit David Redfern/Redferns.

As a latecomer to Scott Walker’s music I’ve only scratched its surface. The admiration other artists have expressed for his solo work makes me want to hear more. I want to appreciate the zone of listening that stretches from the incomprehensible vocal painting embraced by David Bowie to the synesthesia imparting neither comfort nor ease celebrated by Einear McBride.

“I like the way he can paint a picture with what he says… I had no idea what he was singing about. And I didn’t care.” [David Bowie, 2007]

“I have a very nightmarish imagination… I’ve had bad dreams all my life. Everything in my life is big, it’s out of proportion.” [Scott Walker]

“… He is doing the most conventional pop music I ever heard. He is just doing it as if he was observing it from outer space and then trying to tell you what he saw as an alien.” [Howard Kaylan, founding member of The Turtles]

“Walker’s work, as [James] Joyce’s before it, is a complex synesthesia of thought, feeling, the doings of the physical world and the weight of foreign objects slowly ground together down into diamond… This is not art for the passive. It does not impart comfort or ease.” [Eimear McBride, Irish novelist]

(Richard Sandomir, “Scott Walker, Pop Singer Who Turned Experimental, Dies at 76,” NYTimes,
3-26-19)

(c) 2019 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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