INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
The New Yorker DECEMBER 22, 2008 - by Ben Greenman
SCOTT WALKER: 30 CENTURY MAN
The singer and songwriter Scott Walker was one-third of the '60s British pop group the Walker Brothers, who were not British, not brothers, and not really named Walker (Scott was born in Ohio, as Noel Scott Engel). After rising to fame with hits such as The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore, the group disbanded, and Scott Walker went on to become an archetypal cult artist, an increasingly avantgarde performer known for his sepulchral vocals and equally dark taste in material. This documentary, directed by Stephen Kijak, takes a relatively straightforward approach to a particularly evasive talent: such stars as Brian Eno, Sting, Lulu, Ute Lemper, and David Bowie (who served as the film's executive producer) discuss Walker and his influence while archival footage and stills flash onscreen. The film skirts certain unpleasant aspects of Walker's life (his problems with alcohol, for example) and focusses mainly on his work, a decision probably motivated by the director's access to recording sessions for Walker's most recent album, The Drift. (The faint of heart may be put off by the sight of Walker capturing the sound of a man slapping raw meat for use as percussion.) What is most revelatory, finally, is Kijak's interview with the reclusive artist himself, who is articulate, earnest, and refreshingly devoid of self-mythologizing gloom.