- Audio CD (5 Jan 2004)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Virgin
- ASIN: B000007UKU
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,424 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|3. Track Three|
|4. Sleepwalkers Woman|
|5. Track Five|
|6. Track Six|
|7. Track Seven|
|8. Blanket Roll Blues|
Scott was no longer interested in pop, and collaborations with David Bowie, Brian Eno & David Sylvian failed to appear (though I think these were just possibilities). When Scott resurfaced with Climate of Hunter, he infamously responded when asked what he'd been doing the last several years, "Watching people play darts in a pub." But the cult of Scott had grown more in the interim, with singers like Marc Almond & Julian Cope hailing him- the latter released the compilation 'Fire Escape in the Sky- The Godlike Genius of Scott Walker' (though in his book Repossessed reveals that he's no longer a Scott-head!). Tags like the Orson Welles of rock seemed apt- the album itself seemed to have been overlooked & was his sole release on Virgin.
There aren't really any killer singles here, though Sleepwalker's Woman is perhaps an update on 1969's Boy Child- Climate of Hunter is more a cohesive album that wasn't interested much in pop. The titles of several tracks (Track Three, Track Six) demonstrate this & prefigure the playful artiness that Radiohead would display with Kid A! It's notable that the Five Easy Pieces-box-set (which features several tracks from this) gives sub-titles to Track 3, Track 6 et al. Walker just seemed to want to make a good album, not really concerned with a hit single, and with producer Peter Walsh (who would produce Tilt & also produced/arranged Simple Minds'career high New Gold Dream), he made a largely great album...
The avant-garde directions he would take to infinity & beyond on the dazzling Tilt are evident here- from the alienating drones/noises evident on Track 6 to the oblique lyrics (sample:"Cro-magnon herders will stand in the wind/Sweeping tales shining and scaled to begin.") Then again, people thought Scott 4 was out there; Scott decided to pursue a direction suggested by The Electrician, a direction that made you think of Schoenburg, Samuel Beckett & Glenn Branca.
Climate of Hunter isn't that mysterious now, after hearing Tilt it sounds quite unweird and it features well known MOR-artists Billy Ocean and Mark Knopfler (the latter offers some lovely trademark guitar on the cover of Blanket Roll Blues from the film The Fugitive Kind). Climate of Hunter seems to predict the more difficult works of Tom Waits, things like 1.Outside by David Bowie & the aforementioned Kid A (perhaps it's just me?). It's an album that is great value at this price & works as a full-length experience (rather than the highlights found on Five Easy Pieces). It was Scott's step towards another vision, one that was ultimately achieved eleven years later on Tilt.
The tracklisting is:
3. Track 3
4. Sleepwalker's Woman
5. Track 5
6. Track 6
7. Track 7
8. Blanket Roll Blues
Climate of Hunter was seen by many as difficult and was a minor critical success (if you know what the NME meant about screaming in the face of destiny!), but a commercial dud. But post-Tilt, it sounds more akin to certain records of the time- Associates'Sulk, Magazine's The Correct Use of Soap, Roxy Music's Avalon & Simple Minds' Empires & Dance (co-producer Peter Walsh had infact produced/arranged New Gold Dream the previous year). It helps put Walker's difficult masterpiece Tilt (1995) in context also- Climate of Hunter leading directly to that from 1978's year zero found on Walker's songs for Nite Flights, notably the bleak The Electrician (though Scott has always sung about existential, war etc- see The Plague, War is Over, The Old Man's Back Again...).
Climate of Hunter is just over 31-minutes long, and perfectly intense, intended to capture a trance-like feel Scott was after; the tracks are perfectly sequenced together, going from something near rock to the minimal to the avant-garde. The most conventional songs, almost rock shaped, are Track Three, Track Five (after the minimal introduction) and Track Seven- sounding like advances on the song Nite Flights, perhaps the song-titles refer to the fact that they are kind of the same type of song. It's notable that the rock-elements are absent on the latter Tilt, so here Scott is working something out- the guitar on Track Seven will have Gilmour-fans excited (not that it's him, just in that sphere), while those on Track Three remind me of the late John McGeoch and of his work on Magazine's Shot By Both Sides. Track Three features Billy'Caribbean Queen'Ocean on harmony vocals, the kind of chorus "Rock of cast offs, bury me, hide my soul and pray us free" becomes a mantra and is repeated often. While these tracks are great, you can sense that Scott is bored of these rock-shapes and that the other tracks are far more interesting...
Opener Rawhide opens with some light-industrial clatter that forbodes the Neubauten-like excess of 95's The Cockfighter, the bassplaying recalling Japan and Magazine (a few musicians familiar to David Sylvian records are here- Phil Palmer, Mark Isham). The oblique Beckettian-lyrics are present and correct, "Cro-magnon herders will stand in the wind...The insomniac gnaws in the On-Offs...Motionless brands burn into a hipframe." Poetic stuff regardless...Dealer is the closest song to the vast semi-classical ambience of Tilt (think Manhattan) and seems to share themes with The Electrician, i.e. torture, "The windows are ringing...move a circuit on the white and he can't feel a thing...Hissing brains boiling up...when the windows ring." The music is gorgeous ambient-sounding and veers off into something not far from jazz...
Some people don't like Scott after his mythic 60s solo albums (despite the fact that Scott IV was given similar treatment to both Climate & Tilt)claiming he's drifted too far into obliqueness. But how could they object to the sublime Sleepwalkers Woman here?- that voice against strings recalls 1969's Boy Child and looks toward the Gorecki/Mahler/Schoenberg-inflections of Tilt. One of Scott's greatest songs, one sadly left unacclaimed: I'd take it over The Bridge or Boy Child!
Track Six is the most alien thing here, sounds occur amid the downer-ambient rock that sound like braying horses (I thought of some scenes of war and mutilated horses in Celine's Journey to the End of the Night) and an insect-sound that predicts the locusts on Bouncer See Bouncer. The influence on Bowie's partially great 1.Outside (1995) is apparent, as too that on Radiohead's Kid A (2000)- for some reason it reminds me of How to Disappear Completely (perhaps it's just me...) Repetitions abound, this is glacial stuff that is probably as great as the projected Eno/Lanois collaborations Walker was meant to do would have been...
The album concludes on Blanket Roll Blues, originally sung by Marlon Brando in The Fugitive Kind (1959, Sidney Lumet; written by Tennessee Williams & Kenyon Hopkins), which features just Walker's vocal accompanied by Mark Knopfler on his trademark guitar. This is the most subtle thing Knopfler has played on and predicts the minimal tracks David Sylvian recorded with Bill Frisell and Derek Bailey (& also reminds me a bit of Bonnie'Prince'Billy!). A wonderful conclusion to a great lost album from the decade that was unfairly derided as the Eighties. My secondfavourite Scott album, after Tilt...
The tracklisting is:
3. Track Three (Delayed)
4. Sleepwalkers Woman
5. Track Five (It's a Stealing)
6. Track Six (Say I)
7. Track Seven (Stump of a Drowner)
8. Blanket Roll Blues
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