Musical Poetry of the Dark Unconscious: Scott Walker’s “Epizootics!”

Musical Poetry of the Dark Unconscious: Scott Walker’s “Epizootics!”

“A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.
-Albert Camus

Epizootics! is the new ten-minute short film/music video recently premiered by avant-garde musical mastermind Scott Walker, a track from his forthcoming album Bish Bosch. Walker has accomplished the near impossible, showcasing an album that’s more ambitious, experimental and surreal than anything he’s created before. This first taste from his upcoming album is filled with dramatic artistry and shows promise that Bish Bosch will be considered one of the most thought-provoking albums released in years.

For those not familiar with Scott Walker’s work, Walker has been described as one of the greatest living avant-garde artists, with hardly any other American musician having had greater influence upon rock music, while at the same time remaining almost completely unknown to his countrymen. Walker grew up in Texas, New York City and Southern California, but he became a celebrity in England during the mid-1960s as part of the Walker Brothers band. The Walker Brothers was a vocal trio, which wed soaring vocal harmonies, lush soundtrack arrangements and a patently somber worldview into a uniquely theatrical package.

Scott Walker’s voice has been described as perhaps the most beautiful male non-soul voice of that era, and an increasingly free-thinking “Beat” attitude was at the core of the group’s appeal. Although the Walker Brothers became huge in Europe, Scott Walker’s eccentricity cast a dark cloud over the band’s public image. Scott began to write increasingly complicated interlaced music, and its sense of bleakness was intensified by his mix of translated Jacques Brel tunes with distinctly arty and pained original numbers. By 1969, his works were failing to appear on music charts at all.

An increasingly elusive Scott Walker slowly withdrew from public view. His voice began to lose some of its former pop-music sense of majesty, a reflection of his new interest in the experimental synth-driven avant-garde, which he helped revolutionize to major critical success, but only minor public attention. Walker seemed to vanish, while artists as diverse as David Bowie, Brian Eno, Julian Cope, Bryan Ferry, Ultravox and Marc Almond became fiercely ardent supporters of his unique body of work, citing him as a primary influence on their careers. Gale Harold (the actor in Queer as Folk) served as an Associate Producer, along with David Bowie as Executive Producer, of the acclaimed 2006 documentary about the influential artistic vision of Walker’s experimental musical work, Scott Walker: 30th Century Man.

Musical Poetry of the Dark Unconscious: Scott Walker’s “Epizootics!”

Scott Walker: 30th Century Man

Scott Walker is celebrated as an influential musical visionary by a roster of superstars, including Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn, David Bowie and Brian Eno. The enigmatic and notoriously shy former pop idol is the subject of Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, the revealing 2006 documentary by Stephen Kijak. Walker was born in Ohio and sang with Fabian on television as a teenager. However. after achieving immense popular fame in England as the lead singer of the boy band The Walker Brothers, he has lived mostly in seclusion, while creating avant-garde compositions and releasing critically acclaimed, idiosyncratic albums.

Scott Walker: 30th Century Man

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Actor Gale Harold Moved Out of Intensive Care

Actor Gale Harold Moved Out of Intensive Care

Desperate Housewives actor Gale Harold has been moved out of intensive care at a Los Angeles hospital and is improving daily after suffering serious injuries in a motorcycle accident last week. A statement from the actor’s representatives says that “a full recovery is expected.”

Harold had suffered swelling on the brain and a fractured shoulder after last week’s accident. He had been under observation in the intensive care unit at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center. The statement, released Thursday night, added: “He thanks everyone for their good wishes.”

Harold currently plays “Jackson,” Teri Hatcher’s character’s love interest in the 5th season of Desperate Housewives. Gale is previously best well known for playing Brian Kinney in Showtime’s U.S. version of Queer As Folk.

The Mysterious Sexy Lothario, Gale Harold

The Mysterious Gale Harold

Forgoing publicity, Gale Harold’s background is somewhat mystifying. Born in Decatur, Georgia, perhaps best-known as the home of Agnes Scott College, Harold is reported to have credited Jack London, David Bowie and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Gandalf as important influences during his younger years. He attended the upper-class and rather staid private Lovett School in Atlanta. The Lovett School is well-known for its long and proud tradition of producing outstanding soccer players for prestigious colleges throughout the South. After Harold graduated from The Lovett School, he attended American University in Washington, D.C., on a soccer scholarship.

Harold began working toward a Liberal Arts degree in romance literature, only to abruptly depart after a year and a half following a conflict with his coach. This is reminiscent of a somewhat similar episode in Jack Kerouac’s life. Keruoac, from a French-Canadian family living in Lowell, Massachusetts, demonstrated a level of athletic prowess that led him to become a star on his local high school football team. This achievement earned him a scholarship to Columbia University. He entered Columbia after spending the scholarship’s required year at the toney Horace Mann School. However, Kerouac broke a leg playing football during his freshman year and argued constantly with his coach, who kept him benched. As a result, he ended up dropping out of Columbia.

After Harold left American University, he moved to San Francisco, California, to pursue an interest in photography at the San Francisco Art Institute (interestingly, this where Annie Leibovitz first studied photography, in the early 1970s). In addition he worked a variety of jobs, including positions as a Ducati motorcycle technician and a construction worker. In 1997, a friend suggested that he try his hand at acting, and he moved to Los Angeles to study in The Actors Conservatory Program. During this period of time, he starred in the 2003 independent film Wake. The lead part was written expressly for Harold.

However Harold’s big breakthrough came in 2000, when he garnered the controversial role of unabashed gay lothario, Brian Kinney, a central character on Showtime’s popular gay drama Queer as Folk, a breakthrough performance that included the first depictions of male gay sex on American television. Brian Kinney’s character, as well as the show itself, elicited considerable controversy, alternately praised and criticized for its explicit depictions of gay club life. The show ran for five seasons, coming to an end in 2005.

Gale Harold’s Reflections: “Life is Strange, You Can’t Explain It”

Brian and Justin: Every Breath You Take

Another Side of Gale Harold: Wake

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