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Bish Bosch
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£12.58+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 2 January 2013
i keep "the drift" in a lead-lined box, when not in use, but this one i will place in a cage so that i can keep my eye on it. there is more going on than is firstly apparent. by now the sound is as recognisable and as vital as the voice (no ordinary voice), and there are damn few that can produce a statement such as this. works on every level, from bursts of de-constructed classic rock to the considered and strikingly funny 'one-liners'. i feel that it may be his most profound work yet. didn't use the word 'commercial' at all, but maybe should.
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on 30 May 2013
Had to wait a good while and give it a good few listens before reviewing this. I have to say it's one of the most bewitching albums I have ever heard. It sort of terrifies me (not quite as much as his previous album The Drift, but not far off) and whenever I think about listening to it I often change my mind and put something else on. When I do decide to take the plunge however I find myself utterly captivated and, as is the case as I type, I absolutely cannot turn it off until it's finished.
Bish Bosch is dense, difficult, epic, comedic (very) and frightening. It is also quite tuneful in places. Walker's voice is never less than captivating and the lyrics he sings, shouts and screams at certain points are there to be researched and further explored if one has the inclination
This album is such an achievement that I honestly couldn't give it anything less than 5 stars. Nobody else makes music like this. Some might argue this is for very good reason but I for one am very pleased he does.
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on 27 March 2016
This album is easy to dismiss as pretentious codswallop. Sooooo easy, in fact, that after a two years of listening to four sides of slightly abstract, deliberately shocking and confusing lyrics paired with unmusical 'music', I have to throw my hands in the air and confess to having 'been had'! This is not an album that I enjoy listening to - it means nothing to me, because it is probably not meant to be understood ... or enjoyed (I believe).

Scott Walker (these days) is an artist, rather than a 'singer'. I appreciate the beauty of much of what he has recorded in his lifetime, but with this album I feel that only Scott himself can fully understand it and (as 'his audience') I rather resent being 'locked out' of whatever it is that he is trying to communicate. In all probability, I am simply too common and/or stupid.

Some reviewers think that this album heralds 'inevitable the future direction of music' - I'm fairly sure that I read the same thing about the music of 'Soul II Soul' in the late 1980s!? Once again, only time will tell ...

On the plus side (and earning the second star); the vinyl is of very high quality and the packaging suitably sumptuous. I look forward to selling my (largely unplayed) copy for five times what I paid for it to some unsuspecting student in decades to come :-) .

(Genuinely) sorry, Scott :-( . You've lost me completely.
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on 10 October 2015
What to make of this album? Well I’ve listened to it many times from start to finish over a long period of time. it’s got into my head, but what does one make of it? I’m just not sure anyone can answer that truthfully? Bish Bosch continues the ever increasing ‘density’ of Walkers output (excluding the Sunn O collaboration which in some ways is actually quite accessible! Lullaby is outstanding (as is the Ute Lemper version)) since the masterpiece that is Tilt, but it seems the returns are diminishing? The voice is unique, controlled, at times raging. The songs (if you can call them that!) are often like mini opera’s, but he still throws in the odd ‘short one’ – the excellent opener ‘see you don’t bump his head’ - and the sparse and almost beautiful close out ‘The day the conductor died’, but overall this is a very demanding, over long and difficult record. If it is possible to make an album which is lyrically more impenetrable than this, then I’m not sure there’s a person alive who could pen it! Walker seems nowadays to purposefully make his lyrics so hard to access any real understanding of, that if anyone says the obvious (like ‘what the hell is he on about’!!) they are going to be accused of being dumb or simply not ‘getting it’! I’m not asking him to write pretty love song’s but this stuff (at times) is so impenetrable, dark, disturbing, purposefully ‘clever’ that I’m in the camp which asks ‘is it the work of a genius or just the emperor’s new clothes’? Set that lyrical density to ‘music’ that has little value as actual music, but simply acts as a sound scape to present the lyrics against - with purposely jarring effects, screeching runs, industrial banging - and you get an album that is unique and in some ways excellent (like who else could produce work of this nature at any point in their lives, let alone in their 70’s) but simply too hard to penetrate. It gives little for even the committed listener to ‘hang on to’. I personally feel Walker has taken work of this nature to its (un)natural conclusion. Time will be the judge and there’s little doubt Scott’s work will be mulled over for many years to come - when most of today’s popular music has long been assigned to the scrap heap. A work as dense and impenetrable as this is never going to be something that gets taken in by the heart, it will always be a cerebral record and every listener will have their own opinion. It is good that Scott is still able to make and commercially release the music that he wants to, but there has to come a point where work that is as demanding as this simply taxes the listener’s endurance too much. Listen to all 70+ minutes of this in one go in a darkened room and trust me you are asking for some tough psychological times ahead!! There are some records where you think ‘this person is really on to something’ and others where you feel the artist is just trying too hard to be difficult/demanding/clever to get the critics slavering over them, I feel this record is one of those, unfortunately. For me, Tilt is the only ‘modern era’ Walker album I could really hold up (as an entity) as a work of genius. The 4AD records all have inklings of genius, but are in many ways too deliberately composed – a man trying to be too clever for his own good, in a world that at times is too dark a place to be for long.
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on 4 February 2013
Whilst The Drift was for me easily the best album of 2005-2006 I don't know what to make of this! Scott Walker is to me an amazing artist in terms of the soundscapes he conjures up-and here again he manages to perform amazing aural feats with remarkably good sound quality in the recording-I don't think this is ever boring for sure! In terms of lyrics I can't work out quite what his intention is-is the joke on the listener? (probably yes-in part), does he want to win a prize for most pretentious lyricist ever?-(could be easily in for the running for that), is it all meant to be a sort of puzzle for the listener to sort out (although here this time I really think you could listen for years and never know what the songs are meant to be about) or is it free-word association and randomly generated?-you know maybe all these explanations are true! I suppose in the world of art there have been many precedents for this sort of thing-William Burroughs cut-up books, in visual art the Dadaists etc-all playing with the absurd. Certain things carry over from the past albums in the lyrics too-the use of caustic put-downs-very well honed this time, an air of total and utter misanthropy, plenty of humour of a very black-sort-but a type of humour I'm very partial too and it IS genuinely funny, and steps out of the avant-garde and into the everyday ("jingle bells" quoted on the last track and a reference to "From here to eternity" on the first track-the equivalent of the Donald Duck voice on the track "The Escape" from The Drift)-citing popular quotations within works of music with a more serious intention being a feature of musicians going all the way back to Mahler and beyond. Walker said this was the last of a trilogy and maybe together with Tilt and The Drift it is-The Drift therefore being the Adagio or Sarabande in the tryptich. Maybe you have got to give this a lot of listens-there isn't anything as stand-out beautiful to my ear here as "Clara" or "Cue" from the drift-i.e. the beautiful way that Walker can go from out-and-out horror-pyschotic music to sweet sound beauty turning the work almost on a sixpence with remarkable adroitness in terms of the use of orchestration-but maybe it just all takes time! Anyway this is music for the iPod and private listening-I can't see it going down well on the X-Factor-though I'd pay to see that! Interesting music for fans of curate's eggs and something a bit different. What ever next for Walker?-like all of us he may have a tendancy towards several sins but in his case being boring certainly isn't one of them!
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on 16 January 2013
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.
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on 26 December 2012
Not for everyone. Don't play when the family's around for Christmas (unless you want them to leave). Keep the lyrics booklet away from the kids.

What has been great about 2012 in music is that a large number of obtuse and left-leaning albums have reached the ears of consumers and critics alike. This album may not make the Top Ten in the world's major markets (I hope it does!) but with a release date of Dec 3, it's a late contender for album of the year.

The other notable feature of 2012 was that Dylan, Van, Cohen, Springsteen, Cooder, Dr. John, Bobby Womack and John Cale returned to frontline duty with front-rank albums (McCartney too, in my own opinion, but I understand his 'Kisses On The Bottom' may not be enjoyed by most people reading this).

Walker, it must be remembered, is a contemporary of all of the previously mentioned artists.

With 'Bish Bosch', Walker is alone in a field of one. Nobody else is making yearningly epic music with such attention to detail and immaculate, clear-headed production. With instruments such as tubax, mando guitar, electric baritone guitar and machetes in the armoury, 'Bish Bosch' is a cut above the rest.

Orchestra is carefully deployed, with violin harmonics adding an edgy dimension.

And, like all great albums, it's meant to be heard from start to finish, in one sitting.

Take the plunge, treat with care..
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on 22 December 2012
I don't understand people's reaction to Scott's later work. would people really prefer it if now he was crooning his old 60's hits on a stool in an argyle jumper? It's just not what makes him great - he's always pushed himself and his audience.

Anyways onto the album - just like the Drift this took ages to latch onto. They're at first listen is no common theme or impetus to the songs, but they reveal themselves with repeated listens, and when they click it's a revelation. "Zercon" becomes quite touching and is the stand out track - the monologue of a downtrodden person and his hatred for his employers/taunters and his low place in society - he eventually transforms into a star - but the irony is that this life defined by hatred has rendered him the coldest object in the solar system! Not usual song matter but Walker's modern work will be better enjoyed if you look at the songs figuratively and not literally and find meaning for yourself. I like to imagine I'm listening to an audio avant garde opera - an image Walker would perhaps appreciate himself.

The album is beautifully recorded and produced and genuinely amusing in parts - the humour is quite broad at times.

A concept album about decay - (decaying empires/decaying bodies/bodily function/ageing) - are the main theme of the album and quite fitting for an artist of Walkers years to contemplate their own mortality. If Tilt was a haunted wood and Drift an abattoir Bish Bosch is a twisted macabre carnival - the ominous last party before it all falls apart.

While not light listening theirs a lot to like here if you're at all open minded about your music - ignore the snotty reviews claiming Walker's lost his marbles, quite the opposite - his early work and later work seem to me one piece - Scott's songs have always had a heart of darkness - I really enjoyed Bish Bosch - one minor criticism is that it's not as shockingly new as Drift was, but as usual Walker only ever competes with himself - a true original and a dark minded maverick to cherish. LONG LIVE SCOTT!!!
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on 4 August 2017
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on 15 January 2017
It's taken me a long time to catch up with this, four years in fact. At first I thought Scott had gone beyond not just 'songs' as a French journalist observed of Tilt but music altogether, and produced a particularly obtuse theatrical installation/script. It took the death of his most devoted protege David bowie to send me back to Mr Engel and see how this final part of the trilogy works. Weirdly it's all in that amazing voice, more present on this than anything else since the 60s. The secret is, like all great art, to just let it in. Then treat yourself with the joyous 'easy listening' of the more recent collaboration with Sunno and the Childhood of a leader soundtrack.
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