Scott Walker's deep, lugubrious, histrionic voice is a foghorn in the dark night of the soul. And yet as beautiful as it is, it may not always be leading you to a safe shore. The Ohio-born British pop star, who at the height of his mid-1960s success with The Walker Brothers rivaled the Beatles in popularity overseas, long ago forsook the charts to follow his muse into uncharted waters — producing a kind of experimental cabaret music whose influence rubbed off on artists ranging from Bowie to Pulp. A good introduction is the 2006 documentary Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, released the same year as his last full studio album, The Drift.
Walker hasn't released a full album in six years — which accounts in part for the excitement online over the upcoming Bish Bosch, arriving Dec. 3. The 10-minute short above has only fanned the coals. A video for the track "Epizootics!" directed by animator Olivier Groulx, who worked on the Sigur Ros doc Inni, it's a hypnotically unsettling feast of black-and-white imagery in languid slow motion, sometimes looped for a rhythmic hiccuping effect. Combined with the apocalyptic desolation of Walker's vocals and an arrangement that veers from buzzsaw atmospherics and percussive clatter to otherworldly Broadway-musical bombast, it may strike you as either entrancing or pretentious — but either way, we bet you have a hard time getting it out of your head.
Below, in honor of Leos Carax's Holy Motors opening this weekend at The Belcourt — Friday cannot get here fast enough! — here's the amazing industrial-orchestra scene from Carax's Walker-scored 1999 film POLA X.