New reels: ‘Brando’ by Scott Walker and Sunn O))) (film by Giselle Vienne)

Is there a more lauded avant-garde figure in the world of music at the moment than Scott Walker? Famous for an uncompromisingly experimental approach to his art, his explorations into what a song can be continue apace with this taken from the recently released album Soused, a collaboration with experimental metal outfit Sunn 0))).

To accompany the song there’s this compelling film by the French-Austrian director and visual artist Giselle Vienne. It concerns what we assume to be a mother and son who are involved in a violent and possibly Oedipal episode. That and other things such as the woman’s anguished ballet around the house as the boy watches from outside are powerful and arresting, and the whole thing is beautifully shot. An unsettling whip-crack air of tension pervades, aided by Walker’s repeated refrain of “a beating would do me the world of good” and the insistent bristling throb of the music.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea which is kind of the point. This is more music for the adventurous and open-eared from this most singular of singers, a man who has spent the better part of his career sounding quite unlike anyone else. Scott Walker is not anything approaching a pop star. Instead he’s a significant and intrepid artist who explores areas of the musical wilderness where few tred, and at the age of 71 he is maturing nicely in to one of the most innovative and relevant artists in the world.

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