A couple of days ago, a web page was posted with nothing on it but the above graphic and a 4AD Records logo, leading to speculation online as to whether a collaboration was afoot between that label’s artist Scott Walker (the legendarily unorthodox pop singer with the brain-wobbling baritone, not the evil, shitty Midwestern U.S. governor) and the ambient drone metal band Sunn O))). Yesterday, the Quietus confirmed that this is indeed the case, sending orgasmic reverberations throughout greater rock snobdom, as well as prompting this question—since “Sunn O)))” is merely pronounced “sun,” is this band just called “Scott?”
Confirming the project, a source at the label told us: “They’re working together and there is a record coming later in the year”, but wouldn’t be pressed on more details.
If you’re not familiar with Walker, he was the lead vocalist of the ‘60s pop band the Walker Brothers (neither actually brothers nor born named “Walker”), who’re remembered for wonderful singles like their vastly superior 1966 remake of the Frankie Valli hit “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” and their 1975 comeback song “No Regrets.” Walker’s solo career took extremely strange turns from there, however. He released four excellent pop albums of increasing strangeness and difficulty. His compositions eventually started to jettison pop convention altogether, as he sought inspiration in avant-garde classical music. The eventual result was a series of staggeringly strange, bleak, and often simultaneously beautiful and frightening albums, Tilt, The Drift and the most recent, 2012’s amazing Bish Bosch. This unlikely transition from teen magazine idol to barely-classifiable artperson was chronicled in the must-see 2006 documentary Scott Walker: 30 Century Man.
As for Sunn O))), this kind of stuff you either love or hate. They’re arty fellow travelers with thoroughgoingly droooooney bands like Pelican and Jesu, who’ve achieved an elder-statesman/artiste status in post-metal and noise circles. Many find this sort of stuff tedious, and I wouldn’t dream of invalidating their viewpoint, but I’d interject that their music has its rewards if you devote some patience and attention to it—more La Monte Young than Black Sabbath, if you ask me. Speculating as to what they might do with Scott Walker is tantalizing, but fortunately, we apparently won’t have to wait past year’s end to hear it.