Scott Walker is 70 years old today. Happy Birthday sir!
We'd like to think he will be celebrating in his own atypical way - perhaps capturing the sound of concrete falling from a great height; or close-mic'ing a rack of ribs and getting a classically-trained percussionist to punch out a syncopated rhythm on it, until his poor hands are bleeding.
Now, I'd be more than happy to post any, or all, of Scott's unbeatable Jacques Brel re-workings, but instead I've chosen the Scott-penned title track from The Walker Brothers' oft overlooked "electronic" studio album of 1978 Nite Flights.
I like to imagine this as some kind of bleak soundtrack, as a hulking propeller plane cruises over a smog-laden industrial town somewhere in north-eastern Europe. Kraut-disco rhythms, glacial synthesized strings and Scott Walker's haunted moan... It belongs up there with Bowie's 'Berlin trilogy' both in terms of its chronology and its sound (so much so that Bowie eventually covered it in 1993 on his Black Tie White Noise album), and I've even heard Eno pondering on why the album never became the blue-print for all contemporary music. Imagine them doing a Scott Walker themed X-Factor... I'll leave that one hanging in the air.
[despite a re-issue in 2007, the Nite Flights album is quite hard to pick up, and there are copies out there priced up to £109! Though weirdly you can pick up a 3-CD Walker Brothers collection, which apparently includes the whole album for under a tenner from S*insburys of all places!]