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Profile for Algo Kaufman > Reviews

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Algo Kaufman "ALGO" (London)

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Bish Bosch
Bish Bosch
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.88

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone, but definitely for me, 16 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bish Bosch (Audio CD)
First, let's deal with what this record is not.
Scott Walker has not spontaneously reverted to the singer songwriter of Big Louise and its ilk, sorry.
He has been ploughing his own, lonely furrow for thirty years now with little concern for anything as approachable as The World's Strongest Man or for the many people who for some mad reason appear to express anger at his obstinate refusal to pander to fans of his 60s output.

I guess it's time to call those folks to order - only one person gets to choose what he does, and it ain't you or me.

In fact, I would always recommend trying before you buy to anyone thinking of checking out Tilt, The Drift or Bish Bosch. It's a world away from who he was, and possibly several worlds away from any comparable figure around today.

The first thing to note about his late period work is that it is designed around serving the lyric. It is common in pop music for a melody to have a lyric bolted to it, but here nothing is important but the lyrical content - style serves content, sounds serve content and melody (or lack of same) serves this, also. While the lyrics veer very close to self parodying pretentiousness at times, it is clear from several listens (for those who possess the stamina for such an endeavour) that just like on The Drift, in his rampant poetic excesses he is messing with us (Donald Duck was a major clue). Unlike The Drift, however, he times his punchlines a lot better on this record and seems less consumed with a bottomless bleakness at the same time.

I don't think I will ever forget the moment the rhythmic joke is on the listener during "Phrasing", or the jester being heckled by silence and firing back a selection of stand up comics' stock comebacks in response at the start of "Zercon", or the sudden appearance of the most mournful Christmas carol performance I have ever heard. These moments are the results of a synthesis of music, arrangement, lyric, timing and tone - to force a craftsman of Walker's calibre into writing a catchy melody when he want you to FEEL the appropriate thing rather than simply listen to him singing about it, would be an injustice.

I also wanted to address the accusations that his voice sounds bad on this record - it just plain doesn't. At 69 his voice has come on in leaps and bounds in this register, and certainly during Dimple or Corps De Blah he hits some classic notes with real feeling and tone - it seems that his insistence on stretching for the note has actually had the effect of increasing his range, rather than causing him damage.

So to whether I think people should buy the album - selfishly I have to say that it is important to me that he continues working and some level of financial success would be great for him and hopefully mean the wait for another record is half a decade again rather than the full ten years. So yes, on that level you should buy it.
Of course, from a less selfish point of view I would have to qualify this - if you hate Tilt and The Drift, there is absolutely no point in buying this. If you love Walker's latest stuff then you have probably already got it in some form or another. The undecideds (and I doubt there are many) on his recent material may find this a lot less bleak than The Drift and as a result may buy into it a bit more.

In short, don't judge this album for what it isn't. If you love it or hate it, let that be because of the content and not because Scott Walker isn't writing soul crushing ballads any more. As for me? I absolutely love it - it is probably my favourite of the modern trilogy.

P.S. I can heartily recommend getting the print copy of the album. The lyrics book is the only reason I really "got" ...conducator's multiple choice nature.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2014 9:25 PM BST

Children of Men [DVD] [2007]
Children of Men [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Clive Owen
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.74

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood, 28 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Children of Men [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Maybe it's just the sci-fi niche this fills - Alternate Dystopian Reality rather than space opera - that causes it to be misundertood, but the skills and lasting effects of this film are, for me, improved by precisely the aspects that the naysayers DO NOT like.

Of course there are no answers to the world's problems provided in this film - how would one bloke solve all of it anyway (he ain't John Mclane - he works in an office!)? There are also no causes given for the much publicised central device of infertility. There is no hope in humanity because they don't know what the problem is and no one can even begin to cure a disease with no perceived cause. If you've seen "The Birds" you'll know that even without an explicit explanation a film can be worthwhile and thrilling so I don't see how this is vaild criticism OF THIS FILM.

I'm surprised that more people haven't asked why humanity didn't just clone a bunch of children when they realised what was happening - we could do that now, after all - I guess that moral concerns would have been, as they are now, a major factor in not pursuing this, but at the expense of the whole species? But this is missing the point, as so many reviewers of this film seem to do - lets concentrate on the story being told, for which this society and backstory is all set dressing.

To the uninitiated I would wholeheartedly recommend a viewing (or two) of this gem of a near future dystopian society. It reminded me of Logans Run in places and features an equally wonderful and brilliantly restrained turn from Clive Owen in the main role (equivalent to Michael York in Logan's Run) and in all areas he is excellently backed up. The attention to detail from the filmakers is superb, down to believable advertising slogans ("You Decide When") and just enough information in the background to mean you aren't completely lost in an unfamiliar world and avoiding a bunch of "what's that?", "well, it's this" conversations (such as 90% of the first Harry Potter movie).

On first watch I was particularly amazed by one or two epic tracking shots, especially as Theo follows the rebels into a building that is being shelled around him.The set up on that one shot would have taken months to plan, and I am pleased to say it is worth every second they spent on it.

I have only given it four stars for the simple reason that it is not perfect - Theo's fate in particular was a corny end to proceedings and actually rings a false note intead of being the affecting event it tries to be, and the rebels don;t really seem to be that organised or menacing people (just a bunch of misfits living on a farm with over eager trigger fingers and a cliched lack of perspective) but these gripes are minor. It is more than worth your time.

It is, however, a film that offers no answers and precious little hope even at the end of the rollercoaster ride we've been on, and if that doesn't sound like you cup of cha, then this film probably isn't for you.

I hope you've found my opinions useful.

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