Scott Walker
The Drift

Reviewed by: Mike Powell
Reviewed on: 2006-05-09

Posted 05/09/2006 - 06:52:57 AM by florenz6:
 I don´t agree with this view of the music. I´ve listened to "The Drift" a lot of times, and it is a fantastic work of art, dark, mesmerizing, full of surprises, and, yes, shocks! It can lead the listener to places he´never been before. There is not one weak song, not one flat moment. English reviewer are saying this quite often, but here the word fits: "gorgeous"! I am very happy with the fact, that this record gets a lot of brilliant reviews (The Observer, The Guardian, Uncut, Mojo, Independant etc.) So there will be a number of listeners that will enter these dark and haunting soundscapes. Scott Walkers laments are so far away from the maintream-lamentos of post 9/11 with all their consolating harmonies. It is definitely one of the greatest records I´ve heared in my life, getting a prominent place in my record collection, besides Joni Mitchell´s "Hejira", John Coltrane´s "A Love Supreme", Brian Eno´s "On Land" and Talk Talk´s "Laughing Stock".
Posted 05/09/2006 - 06:56:18 AM by raskolnikov:
 Nice name-checking here--Beckett, Nietzsche, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Carla Petacci, Mussolini. Real relevant. Not showing off at all, right? Plus the movie Batman was a soulless and boring by the numbers blockbuster piece of shit. Were all of these references necessary to review Scott Walker's new release? Which I'm sure will remind every listener of Beckett, Bacon, Picasso, and Nietzsche right away.....
Posted 05/09/2006 - 06:57:11 AM by florenz6:
 P.S. It is definitely not "untouchable". The music is deeply moving, deeply emotional. Simple as that!
Posted 05/09/2006 - 08:17:05 AM by mrleeward:
 Didn't seem like name-checking to me, Raskolnikov (and are we therefore to assume that's your real name?)
Posted 05/09/2006 - 09:31:56 AM by raskolnikov:
 My real name is either Nathaniel Turner or Stosh Walesa, depending on which medication I've taken that day. Or maybe it's Mucho Maas, Leo Bloom, Teemu Selanne, Joe Djugashvili, Zinedine Zidane, or Little Addie Schicklgruber. I get so confused. But today--call me Mister Breaker. My name is Mr. Breaker.
Posted 05/09/2006 - 10:11:41 AM by J_R_K_:
 batman is an awesome movie. grab your shoulders and pull your head out of... oh nevermind, you'll never like anything that's a 'blockbuster'. you're too busy calling out people who name drop.
Posted 05/09/2006 - 12:04:54 PM by florenz6:
 Hey, this seems to become a discussion about name-dropping. But honestly, I find that Michael Powell very much likes to walk around certain pre-conceptiions in his mind (prejudices) and adapt them to the musical material. The results are that, in his view, a guy called Scott Walker wants to do something wild and frightening with his possibilities at hand. Nothing can be wronger can that. Mr. Walker/Engel is a serious guy (who, by the way, doesn´t see himself at all as a genius or something like that) and strives for an authentic expression of his musical ideas. It´s concerned with a world full of fascism, with dead bodies on battle-fields, with modern European history and fundmanentalism that lead to madness (for example in this Mussolini love affair). The music and the lyrics actually drift from certain places in modern times to parallel zones of bad luck, misery and paranoia. And , my god, the music is so endlessly rich - and stripped-down at the same time! No l´art-pour-l´art-sort of thing! And, as Brian Eno said: "He should be recognised as not only one of our great composers but a great poet as well. I´m sure people like Beckett thought about words in the same way, , it´s not to do with meaning or telling someone something, it´s to do with making something h a p p e n to someone." And, i you listen to his voice, it´s shattered down, broken, it has changed into a ghost. This is not the kind of persona singers normally like to adopt. This is an act of great courage! So, to say it again, "The Drift" is a rewarding listening experience, but you will have to be very careful about the time where wnd when you will listen to it. When I heread yesterday from the terrible death of Grant McLennan, I put on the song "clue" from "The Drift" and played the Go´be´s "Spring Hill Fair"-masterpiece. It was my saying good-bye to Grant. Sorry, i´m drifting here, but this happens when you really dive into this music.
Posted 05/09/2006 - 01:20:56 PM by theresafield:
 ROCKISM lol got there first
Posted 05/09/2006 - 02:03:37 PM by nhennies:
 How on earth could you possibly say that an album so clearly concerned with the horrors of modern society is "not meant to touch"? Nobody communicates terror more effectively than Scott Walker and this album is no exception. Perhaps people will call it "singular" but certainly not untouchable. Works of such staggering complexity are here for us to learn from and for the artist to learn about himself. You simply couldn't be more wrong.
Posted 05/09/2006 - 04:07:10 PM by Liarbythefire:
 For me personally, this is one of the best albums of this year, if not this decade. It drags towards the end, but it's overall worth it. "Jolson and Jones" to me is more of a '9/11 song' than "Jesse." I'd like to know who the female singer is on "Clara."
Posted 05/09/2006 - 04:08:07 PM by florenz6:
 Hi,nhennies, you are so right. I remeber a time when music had the clear aim to open new horizons, to break through borders,and now, when somebody is doing this so radically, many people go huh-huh-huh, as if all what they wanted, would be good, and never haunting, entertainment. Music can be so much more.
Posted 05/09/2006 - 05:01:22 PM by angrymice:
 As usually happens, I was totally behind the times on Scott Walker. When someone mentioned that 'tilt was a fun acid trip and the drift is a bad one' I was intrigued and downloaded Tilt. Listening to that album for me, initially was like listening to an obelisk, but it got warmer and warmer with each listen. Something about 'Do I here 21? 21? I'll give you 21, 21.' caught me everytime. Soon I loved it for it's bizarrity and creepiness, and also its warmth. As the hype built I was looking forward to The Drift, but when I finally got a hold of it I was a little disappointed, though I can't exactly explainn why. It seems a little more mechanical, perhaps, but it, to it's credit I haven't given it as much of a chance as Tilt... there's no immediate claw like grip at the beginning of Cossacks Are like there was in Farmer in the City... though I do like, 'That's a nice suit... that's a swanky suit...'
Posted 05/09/2006 - 07:59:03 PM by markrushton:
 What is with this review? Sorry, I don't get your Drift, but thanks for pointing me to David Peschek's far more intriguing, less pretentious, and very economical review in the Guardian.
Posted 05/10/2006 - 02:32:39 AM by :
 I get stressed every time I read a Scott Walker review because the word order and the word choice of each reviewer recycles certain hypocrosies with the same twitching fervour that a rat employs to find his way out of the labyrainth. I`d have to say if you can turn a clock back then what`s the use in a temporal dimension anyway, & where does that leave Scott Walker 2 & 3? In bed with the rat, that`s where. Because even Beckett`s most inventive character wouldn`t contemplate an equation for misery or one`s own inscrutable ineptitude at digging through the penance one feels in showing his scummy life`s worth of repeated stealings and borrowings. You may hack Mike Powell into severed limbs and bloodied bandages but he would not even be mentally equipped to understand your need to impregnate him with the Scott Walker charge that comes with in this Drift thing he`s laid like a battery hen in a electro-coop.
Posted 05/11/2006 - 04:42:27 PM by hometapes:
 oh my god...totally OTM, The-Disexists....totally.
Posted 05/19/2006 - 03:12:47 AM by theresafield:
Posted 05/24/2006 - 04:26:34 PM by gpdarrah:
 hey florenz6, you would really put Laughing Stock on par with something as magnificent as Hejira? Now, Secrets of the Beehive from Sylvian is another matter! To be honest, I find it perversely refreshing that someone out there would dare to write a less-than-glowing review for something that was bound to receive endless praise. However, Mr. Powell is pretty off the mark with The Drift. I would agree that at some of it's darker moments, Walker isn't aiming for anything "beautiful" in the conventional sense, but something alienating and truly shocking. In that sense I would agree that it's ugly - but my guess is that the record is richer for it. Digestible, predictable, and static The Drift is not. Listen again - and this time turn off your TV!
Posted 05/30/2006 - 12:20:46 PM by florenz6:
 Hey, gpdarrah! Yes, i would really put Laughing Stock on par with Hejira. They are both, excuse me for my pathetic choice of words, gorgeous, overwhelming, utterly beautiful, otherworldly records. And it is not so courageous from my side to do this now, because the late work of Talk Talk meanwhile belongs to the "classic department". Okay, one has always to be careful with so-called classics, but I remember the time when the record ("Laughing Stock") was released in England. I was travelling to London for an interview with Mark Hollis. Apart from very few journalists, the music was put down by a lot of writers in the same ridiculous way, in which Alfred Soto writes about Eno´s "Another Day On Earth", for example. Another fantastic work, by the way. Some months ago, there was an excellent article in "Mojo" or "Uncut" about the story of Talk Talk. Highly recommended:)
Posted 05/30/2006 - 01:38:41 PM by gpdarrah:
 I was very impressed by MH's solo record but I don't know if it was the production or what but in their entirety, the Talk Talk records never grabbed me. Certainly not in the way Mitchell or Eno did. I always got what I needed from their singles. But I do remeber seeing that article in Mojo. I should have read it. Does Hollis record anymore?
Posted 05/31/2006 - 01:12:30 PM by florenz6:
 Mark Hollis retired in many ways. Quiet family life, as far as I know. I met him again in hamburg when he put his solo album out. He is a very introspective person, and I was surprised how kind of delighted he was to see me again. He seemed very shy at the ebginning of 90s. I had thought he was very happy when the business was done:) So, aside from a short collab with Anja Garbarek, nothing new happened. Some weeks ago, I got the solo album from Tim Friese-Greene (he calls his project "Heligoland")- like that! But really - I was diving into the spaces of "Spirit Of Eden" and "Laughing Stock"; for me it was really enlightening music (i am not religious, but these metaphors spring to mind) Seems interesting to exchange thoughts this way, but, can you somehow find a way to give me your email adress - so we would not use this public space. Best wishes from Germany. Michael
Posted 09/25/2006 - 07:35:55 PM by remnant:
 Its actually the MOST funny of all Scott Walker's albums, and I mean this not in a derisive way at all, but rather that in certain respects it plays like a series of straightfaced blacker than black gnomic jokes. Its only weakness is that each section relies too much on repetition rather than development, which leads to a certain tediousness over the course of the works 78 minute duration, (and unlike, say, "Bouncer see Bouncer" on "Tilt" the endless switching between sections prevents the bliss of abstracted monotony...)