Scott Walker – Oort Man

In the eccentric cosmology of entertainment, those who succeed early usually embark on one of three trajectories. Many take a rocket ride into the stratosphere for a quick sub-orbital jaunt, only to come crashing back down to obscurity, bankruptcy or premature death. Some achieve orbit, then inhabit our heavens in the form of a slowly decaying satellite, briefly flaring up with reflected limelight on occasion, before eventually winking out. Less frequently, there are those who go so high and so far that they escape the pull of the mundane, eventually disappearing into the Oort cloud for protracted periods until they are spied every so often shimmering comet-like, but enigmatically distant.

I once sat listening to Scott Walker (born Noel Scott Engel), and mused that his compositions and voice could easily be the attenuated thoughts of a lost soul, echoing off the icy fragments in perpetual brownian swirls at the edge of the solar system. Disclaimer: I don’t imbibe anything more potent than excessively steeped green tea, so fuck-off if you think I’m on some narcotic opioid alkaloidal trip.

Now, I’m quite aware that excessive poetic metaphor in the service of one’s admiration for an artist can induce reader nausea. There are those who believe the degree of reverence for The Oort Man is unwarranted. Walker, in their opinion, is mostly pretentious crypto-schtick-rationalised-as-serious-music. I rudely disagree. The man’s music bleeds cool all over my eardrums. Sure, I’ll admit it’s not all gold.  Littered amongst the jewels are cheap plastic trinkets that beg for ridicule. I’ll expose my unashamed bias and suggest the exceptions are tongue-in-cheek parody.

I could launch into a detailed biography or discography, but that has already been done. If the Wiki entry doesn’t do it for you, then I highly recommend 2006 documentary ‘Scott Walker: 30 Century Man‘.

I set aside The Oort Man for those special moments of self-indulgent, bourgeois ennui. So much of what appears on Scott I-IV could provide ample material for a soundtrack to all my shameful melancholy. Instead of listing out every album I hold dear, I’ll recommend one: Scott IV (1969). This final record in the quartet is the perfect starter for your rainy day collection. Walker’s rich, mournful baritone will transport you into a spooky fantasia with ‘Boy Child’, my pick of the track list.



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