Scott Walker: Bish Bosch


The best thing about Bisch Bosch, like Scott Walker's previous avant-garde explorations, is how it explodes expectation. Are his noisy, minimalist sound dramas even music? It suggests the board mix of an Off-Broadway one-man show informed by Bertolt Brecht's Theatre of Alienation and the music of Can. Like the best art, it's hard to tell which side is up: Screeching strings, samples, buzzing electronics, mechanistic beats, skronks, and guitar blasts swirl around his operatic tenor like Dorothy leaving Kansas, and his self-serious delivery accompanies impenetrable, expressionistic, and absurdist lyrics. From "sphincters tooting out our tune" to the "anorexic sky and scar jumping grafters, chorion-crying," it's unclear whether the former orchestral pop balladeer is getting at something or just enjoying a laugh on us, and that's the fun part. (3 out of 5 stars)