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An in-depth, absorbing documentary offering insights into the music genius that Scott Walker solidly is
More than five years in the making, filmmaker Stephen Kijak gave us a chance to spend some time with Scott Walker, or Noel Scott Engel (his real name if you prefer), and listen to other collaborators and musicians who have been touched by Scott, talking and commenting while listening to selections of Scott's music presented during interviews. Scott, the consummate and committed songwriter-poet-explorer of the 'un-tread' territories of the senses, intrepidly transforms his internal imagery and inherent clues into his unique music, 'avant-garde' or otherwise (as demonstrated in his albums "TILT" 1995 Fontana Records UK, and "THE DRIFT" 2006 4AD label).
From the beginning of the reel, we can tell he's a soft-spoken man, an ordinary looking man (regular guy) now in his sixties (he was quite a heart-throb, in his curly pop hairdo and husky low tone with his guitar, being the lead singer of the famed Walker Brothers circa 1964-66). He's not flashy or arrogant (as you might think pop culture idols would be), actually he's downright shy, sort of hiding away under his baseball cap. Once you hear him speak, passionately about his music, offering amusing anecdotes of 'yesteryears', you will be absorbed into this world of Scott Walker and wanting to know as much as you can about him, go checking on the Web for his music, album availability, even his song lyrics, without hesitation. (There's a substantial database of lyrics site at "scottlyrics.vniversum.com/".) Amazon.com seem to have a comprehensive source for all Scott Walker's albums, from Scott '1' (the Jacques Brel period), Scott 2, 3, 4, "Tilt" and "The Drift", including "Nite Flights" 1978 - the one-time reunited Walker Brothers album (MP3 album 'downloadable'), more Scott solo efforts like "Climate of Hunter" 1984, "Pola X" 1999 film soundtrack of nonconforming French director Leos Carax, "And Who Shall Go to the Ball? And What Shall Go to the Ball?" 2007 orchestral piece in four movements by 4AD label.
He is, indeed, a 30 Century Man, a poetic purist at heart. His meticulous care in composing guitar chords for his songs as composer Hector Zazou pointed out as he wondered how Scott had in-tune and out-of-tune chord arrangements at the same time - true genius recognition, alright. Collaborating arranger & keyboard player Brian Gascoigne explained how Scott went for the unconventional - the in between 'chord' and 'dis-chord' and holding for 16 bars. It's amazing just 'soaking up' the many shared accounts described by Scott's fellow musicians, colleagues, and managers. "His lyrics are peerless," so Brian Eno admirably confirmed. David Bowie is executive producer to this documentary film of Scott Walker, who is definitely still alive and well, seriously flourishing in the music world in UK, where he's fondly appreciated more.
Considering most of the films and documentaries of the decade are about musicians past, like "Control" (2007) on Ian Curtis of Joy Division, "A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake" (2000), both died quite young at 24 and 26, Kijak's documentary "Scott Walker: 30 Century Man" is invariably of a different tone, definitely worth your while especially if you appreciate music or film-making, as you'll get to enjoy sight and sound simultaneously (there are plenty of typographic visual play on the presentation of Scott's song lyrics through out the film). This is a gem well-cut. Enjoy the 95 minutes and you shall rewind to review, if it's certain segments to repeat, or simply the whole length of the feature once again.
Memorable quotes: It's fascinating hearing him talking about his songwriting that "it has to come to you, can't push it". And what a sensible man Scott Walker is as he said, "I'll know when I write my next record where I'll be".
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