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Climate Of Hunter

Climate Of Hunter

24 Sep 2007
4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Climate Of Hunter
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD
I suppose the sound that Scott is most synonymous with is that big, doomy orchestral style, riddled with existentialist lyrics and a baritone croon. However, devoted Walker fans are well aware of a different Scott - a Scott that has consecutively strived to sound both contemporary and experimental - mixing those bleak, existential lyrics with a bleak and desolate sound. The moment of truth for THIS Scott could be seen as the songs he contributed to the final Walker Brother's album, Nite Flights. The sound there seemed to suggest disco, with nods to certain mid-to-late-seventies post punk acts, which, if nothing else, demonstrated Scott's interest in contemporary music - as well as more classical or experimental acts - a factor that would really go towards the formation of this album.
The songs on Nite Flights would further Scott's bleak world view, building on a decade long depression and a bout of alcoholism following the decline in his celebrity, the failure of his initial masterpiece Scott 4 and those early 70's wilderness years, in which he seemed to blindly record a barrage of ill-advised country covers that did nothing but diminish his reputation as a supposed-perfectionist-genius. The content of the songs would touch on notions of death, depression, madness, internal angst, war atrocities and political torture, all the while retaining a sound that developed a cohesive and, to some extent, wholly cohesive atmosphere that complimented those austere Beckett-like lyrics perfectly. If anything, those factors would become a sort of template for this album and, to a further extent, his follow up masterwork, Tilt.
Climate of Hunter begins ominously, with a moment of silence that is broken by a tolling bell somewhere in the distance.
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This 1984 sequence of songs by a newly liberated Scott Walker ends with a brief three-minute blues with words by, unlikely as it may seem, playwright Tennessee Williams, with Scott singing to only Mark Knopfler's guitar. It's quite wonderful.
Another track has Billy Ocean singing in duet with Scott, and others have jazz luminaries such as Evan Parker and Mark Isham guesting on saxes or trumpet.
There are eight tracks in all, half of them without titles, over a mere half an hour. But the short length {not such an issue thirty years ago} is made up for by the strength and confidence of the singer's vision. The lyrics are oblique but intriguing, and the arrangements by keyboardist Brian Gascoigne are a wonder in themselves.
This was Scott Walker's first real foray into the more experimental musical worlds he has since inhabited, after the partially successful reunion of the Walker Brothers, and it repays many listens. I always felt he was to some extent treading water with the early solo albums, however splendid they are, but here he seems in his element.
To think this was made bang in the middle of British popular music's direst decade ~ al those earnest besuited young men with stentorian voices, and absurd would-be pirates. . . Here was an old voice with a new song to sing, titled or untitled.

Brief, but beautiful.
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'Climate of Hunter' was Scott Walker's sole-release in the 1980s, continuing the directions suggested by Scott's contributions to the final Walker Brothers LP 'Nite Flights' (1978). 'Nite Flights' saw Walker compose again for the first time since flop 'Til the Band Comes In' - the interim seeing inept cover versions ('Many Rivers to Cross' anyone???), flop solo albums, and the reformation of the Walker Brothers - who went from truimphic return with 'No Regrets' to off the register with follow-ups 'Lines' and 'Nite Flights'. Walker's writer's block ended with the four songs on 'Nite Flights', which were probably closer to Bowie than Walker of old ; the terrifying composition 'The Electrician' spelt out the future, Walker making avant-pop with sinister themes (the torture apparent in that song is continued to 'Dealer' here, and features on 1995's masterpiece 'Tilt'). A listen to 'Nite Flights' or 'The Electrician' is the ideal preperation for 'Climate of Hunter' - which is an overlooked album that might even make 'Tilt' make sense to those otherwise confounded.
After reportedly turning down offers to work with Bowie, Eno and David Sylvian (there is a rumour that Walker began to record with Eno, but halted proceedings over Daniel Lanois' hair!!!!) Walker recorded his sole album for Virgin. As 'Tilt' it is produced by Peter Walsh (previously known for Simple Minds' pop-classic 'New Gold Dream, 81, 82, 83, 84') and features a collaboration with Brian Gascoigne who would contribute heavily towards 'Tilt.'
'Climate of Hunter' itself fitted right in with a lot of great music in the 1980s, its sound not far from the Blue Nile, Roxy Music's 'Avalon', Peter Gabriel's '4',Magazine's 'The Correct Use of Soap' & David Sylvian (both Mark Isham and Phil Palmer would work with the latter).
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This is what genius does when it enters the studio , fantastic album that should be heard by more people. He is always pushing himself , taking the listener on beautiful , interesting trips. A true innovator in every sense of the word.Gods tonsils , if only he had made more records around this period.
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