"This is Eraserhead shit, I just don't get it. Can someone tell me the secret?" —YouTube comment on Walker's "Epizootics" video
Filled with scatological references, speed-metal guitar, delicate chimes, and dramatic gongs, the reclusive Scott Walker's first record in six years is hardly conventional, so a conventional review wouldn't suffice. Posting a series of tweets would be considerably less labor-intensive, but I find it more fitting, so see below for my first-impression thoughts while listening to Bish Bosch on repeat this Sunday until my head exploded into a million bloody pieces, much like the guy in Scanners (and since Derek Jarman is no longer with us, I propose David Cronenberg for video duties).
If you've seen Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle, Bish Bosch is the musical analogue (Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo appears in Cremaster 2, and I can envision Walker and Lombardo making a similarly fantastic monstrosity together).
Like Barney, Walker has a fixation with testes—"cremaster" is the term for the muscle that regulates movement. As you'll see from my Twitter spew, Bish, which recalls the French word biche, wore me down after awhile, though the prosaic "like" doesn't fit. I don't like, love, or hate it; it's a thing to be experienced, savored, sloshed around for a while. To quote @Holy_Mountain, "I don't think they're [the lyrics] made to be liked but understood and grappled with."
Bish Bosch tweets sent on Nov 18 between 9:30am - 12:00pm. Cumulatively, they read like a poem about the album...a poem without rhyme or meter.
"Nothing clears the room like removing a brain." I respect the new Scott Walker LP, but I don't like it. "I've severed my gonads. Fed them to your shrieking face." Precocious 13-yr-old boy poetry. [in response to @flipyourface] Trying to think positively: my cats would probably dig the Walker song that goes, "Room full of mice, room full of mice!" (Since "Bisch Bosch" is a repository of unpleasant things, I'll assume first draft went, "Room full of rats, room full of rats!") "No more dragging this anus around." Go Scott, go! Kick-ass title of that last Walker track pays tribute to Harvey Danger: "SDSS14+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)." Walker's words of love: "A sphincter's tooting our tune." "Bisch Bosch" is growing on me—even the proctological hijinks of "Corps de Blah"—but I'm not the one to write about it. Zing! "If shit were music, you'd be the brass band." Misquoted the estimable Walker. In "SDSS14+13B," he sings, "I've severed my shrieking gonads. Fed them to your shrunken face." This whole time I've been spelling "Bish Bosch" wrong. Apologies to the Walker diehards, who are legion (still prefer my way).
And there you have it! 4AD releases Bish Bosch on Dec 4. Click here to read my interview with Stephen Kijak, the director of Scott Walker: 30 Century Man (the DVD, now available through Oscilloscope Laboratories, is well worth your time).