Scott Walker
Bish Bosch


4.0
excellent

Review

by Hernan M. Campbell STAFF
December 3rd, 2012 | 269 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Scott Walker returns with what is perhaps his most twisted and surrealistic effort to date.

When it comes to avant-garde music, you either get it or you don't. It's a genre that celebrates the most abstract dimensions of the human psyche, birthing the kind of music that deviates from conventional logic and indulges in imaginative artistry. Musicians like Scott Walker seem to be utterly apathetic to the notion of appeal. He manipulates a myriad of contrasting sounds and melodies to comprise his esoteric canvas, an embodiment of his thoughts and obsessions meant for us to observe, and whether we, the audience, comprehend it or not, is none of his concern.

Scott Walker's decension into the abstract was a long one, but not at all surprising. He made his name in the late 1960's as a rising star in the Baroque pop scene and released several essential albums within the genre. But even then, as his music often embellished itself with elegant euphonic arrangements, there was always a sense of darkness within his persona. Hidden behind all of the lavish orchestral sounds, lied a cynical man who loved to reminisce about human immorality as well as expressing his own morbid sense of humour. And as time went by, as his fame began to be eclipsed by the changing trends of an ever altering world, the music of Scott Walker became a thing of the past. And it was during this state of hiatus that he concealed himself from the world and underwent a profound metamorphosis of his own. In albums like Tilt and The Drift, we found him embracing a more ominous and enigmatic nature. The once romantic crooner who managed to seduce us with his sophisticated charisma, now wallowed comfortably in the shadows to recite ambiguously horrid tales for the sake of shock. It may appear like a rather drastic evolution in style, but once reflecting on the content of his earlier efforts, particularly in the transitional Scott 3, we can really see his darkness slowly beginning to devour any sense of innocence and optimism.

Bish Bosch is yet another expansion into his avant-garde style. It's more vigorous than the previous two art albums, as the songs are often violent and unpredictable in comparison, but the atmosphere they exude still matches the unrelenting dismalness of the prior releases. Bish Bosch is a much more elaborate album artistically because we really get to see Scott Walker transcending through genres, and coalescing them to create an anarchical exhibition of sounds. To some, avant-garde music is a puzzle to be solved. An enigma that encompasses hidden themes that are just waiting to be analyzed and deciphered. For others, it's all about the mere experience in each listen and the emotions that they spark up within us. The music of Bish Bosch is not about how attractive it can appear to the listener, it actually aspires the opposite, it wants to be as grotesque possible- both in its music and lyrical content. It constantly drags the listener into a surrealistic environment, a deep abyss of unsettling darkness that harbors nothing but melancholia and relentless acrimony. The album opens with "'See You Don’t Bump His Head'", it's a rather tamed piece but it does a great job of foreshadowing the subsequent events, serving as a kind of appetizer before the main course. The song flows along a repetitive drumbeat that carries us along into Scott Walker's opening vocal delivery, which is decorated with a familiar ghastly ambience in the background. There's also an abrasive guitar riff that tends to float in and out of perception, and it really helps augment the sense of malevolence that drives the mood of this song. As usual, Scott Walker's lyrical deliveries are coated with obscure metaphors which are deliberately left unclear so we can obsesses over its interpretation.

"Corps De Blah" and "SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)" serve as the two main epics in the album, and their compositional structures reflect an eccentric collage of various moods and sounds. One of the intriguing aspects of Scott Walker's music has always been his innovative instincts to use unique instrumentation to formulate his vision for each song. In both of these tracks we find ourselves voyaging through intricate spaces, and with each passing second, we are exposed to new realms of abnormality. The soundscapes that embody these songs are actually ingeniously arranged because we encounter so many different sources of instruments and auditory concepts. From ambient hazes and cosmic waves exuding from synthesizers, bombastic percussions, to heavy metal eruptions, and even farting noises, Scott Walker is literally coming at us from all directions with an array of surprises. "SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)", in particular, is one of the most mesmerizing experiences Scott Walker has ever orchestrated. There's an overwhelming feeling of tension that arises in us when listening to this one piece. It's as if we're descending into a vivid nightmare, becoming hopelessly trapped in the depths of a twisted surrealistic fantasy. The suspenseful atmosphere and dynamic instrumental medleys proves to be both exhilarating and magnetic right to the very end.

"Epizootics!" is another highlight in Bish Bosch, and it's actually one of the most accessible songs, or at least, it doesn't try to be as abnormal as the others. And what makes it so inviting is that it is initially comprised of a rather harmonious arrangement, the repetitive percussive beat and buzzing saxophone technique create an almost inciting melodic groove. But it isn't long before "Epizootics!" begins to shift into completely anomalous directions. Leaving us to journey through quasi-psychedelic passages, bursting trumpet segments, and even a brief finger-snapping vocal break early in the midsection because, well, why not? Overall, Bish Bosch, with all of its familiar erraticism, is an auspicious follow-up to its acclaimed predecessors, Tilt and The Drift. It really has everything going for it. Scott Walker proves he's still capable of organizing seemingly random musical components in ways that sound both innovative and minimalistic, for example, the usage of clashing blades as a rhythmic instrument in "Tar". And his lyrics are as characteristically unpredictable as always, exposing his whimsical side by telling jokes about mothers and obesity, to illustrating explicitly horrific scenes in our minds. Bish Bosch is quite honestly one of Scott Walker's most ambitious efforts, but obviously this is one of those albums that just has to be experienced to even begin to fathom its experimental nature. Needless to say this isn't an album for the average listener, but to all of those patient fans who have been desperate to dwell back into the twisted mind of Scott Walker, give this album a chance and I promise you now, you will not be disappointed.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2012


4458 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Here's my review for Scott Walker's new album. I honestly thought it was great, but what did you guys think of it?

This review was also uploaded at this fine site:
http://mediasnobs.com/music-review/scott-walker-bish-bosch/

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2012


6339 Comments


Was waiting for this.

Will read later.

Digging: Madred - Supersonic Brainfuck Overdrive

MichaelSnoxall
December 3rd 2012


12163 Comments


Still need to listen to album, but insta-pos. Is this really more intense than The Drift?

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2012


4458 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Michael
I personally liked it just as much 'The Drift', but whether its more intense is really up to the individual. It's definitely more
experimental.

NightmareCinema16
December 3rd 2012


2016 Comments


I was ready to listen to this. Now I have to find it the hard way. Wonderful review, by the way. POS.

ThunderNeutral21
December 3rd 2012


3864 Comments


this cant be more twisted than the drift

Maniac!
December 3rd 2012


26257 Comments


The Drift was good, but pretty overhyped. It's not as "twisted/demented" as people seem to think it is. In some places it was kind of boring.

/opinions

ThunderNeutral21
December 3rd 2012


3864 Comments


yea its not as good as underoath

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
December 3rd 2012


16131 Comments


monster review, pos

Rikardur
December 3rd 2012


731 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review, pos'd. This is my favourite Scott Walker album. It's just so...interesting.

CaptainDooRight
December 3rd 2012


30334 Comments


oh cool his new one's out, def will have to check

review is excellent, deserves feature, pos

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
December 3rd 2012


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

rip donald duck

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
December 3rd 2012


7427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review man.

I enjoyed this, though the appeal did begin to wane after about an hour.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2012


4458 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks everyone for the feedback.

@Maniac!
I think it's more exciting than The Drift in my opinion, it's definitely louder and "weirder"- which can be a good or bad thing depending on opinion.

@Ali
Thanks, man. Glad to see you give it a listen.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2012


4458 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Rikardur
I'm beginning to agree there. It's definitely growing on me more and more with each listen.

Epilogue
December 3rd 2012


1600 Comments


definitely want this.

Tikicobra
December 3rd 2012


574 Comments


Is there anywhere to listen to this right now?

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2012


3541 Comments


Nice review, doubtful I'll be listening to this but since avant-garde is at the very least interesting (if not as sonically pleasing as I'd like) I may check it out sometime. Have a pos.

Digging: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2012


4458 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Tiki
You'll have to download it. There's o official streams that I know of but I'll add it when it's available.

@TheBrostepGuy
Give a try Will when you get the chance, I really dont know what you'd think of judging by your taste, but if it does have its appealing qualities (as appealing as art music can be)

RosaParks
December 3rd 2012


15047 Comments


been looking for this. pos



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