(All Album Reviews by Oreb)
Scott Walker is not a name readily associated with prog. He recorded a series of marvelous dark-lounge albums in the late 1960's, having made his name with The Walker Brothers earlier in the decade, then drifted in and out of obscurity for the better part of two decades: a situation which has not really changed. This magnificent record was hardly calculated to make him a household name!
Tilt is a brooding dreamrecord. Definitely from the art-rock camp, it is like nothing you have ever heard. Imagine a smooth-as-caramel baritone croon mixed with off-centre orchestration, avant-noise, remarkable guitar (courtesy of David Rhodes) and lyrics which read like rumours of atrocity filtered through an opium den. I'm probably making it sound like hard work: and it is. But the effort is repaid.
Every song features passages of revelation and beauty, just as they feature often disturbing echoes, drones and dull, brooding percussion. Through it all, Walker sings with enormous urgency. He is trying to communicate something of great importance, but - as in a dream - the words come out differently. You can hear his frustration and his determination, as well as his outrage, building through the violence of "The Cockfighter" and the title track as well as the threatening dirges "Bouncer See Bouncer" and "Patriot" until, finally he gives up. "Rosary" finishes the album with a twisted folk refrain that ends in resignation and quietude.
This album is not by any means mainstream prog. It will appeal more to listeners with a taste for the Henry Cow and Art Bears type-stuff. There will come a point, probably around the third or fourth playing when this album will click into focus for you. At that point you'll be able to recognise it as one of the very few great records ever made.