Climate of Hunter

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Climate of Hunter
Studio album by Scott Walker
Released March 1984 (1984-03)
Recorded The Town House, EMI & Sarm West Studios, October–December 1983
Genre Art Rock
Length 31:00
Label Virgin
Producer Peter Walsh, Scott Walker
Scott Walker chronology
We Had It All
(1974)
Climate of Hunter
(1984)
Tilt
(1995)
Singles from Climate of Hunter
  1. "Track Three" b/w "Blanket Roll Blues"
    Released: March 1984

Climate of Hunter is the eleventh studio album by the American solo artist Scott Walker. It was released in March 1984 and reached number 60[1] on the UK Albums Chart. It includes the single "Track Three". It was also to be his only album of the 1980s.

Walker wrote the songs for the album between August and September 1983. The album was recorded between October and December 1983 in the UK at The Town House, EMI and Sarm West Studios. Receiving positive reviews the album was released as an LP in March 1984 before it was released on CD in the mid-1980s. The album was reissued on CD in January 2006, with new revised artwork and having been remastered. The original artwork for the album was designed by C.More.Tone with photography by Bob Carlos Clarke.

Background[edit]

Following the poor reception of Walker's tenth solo album, 1974's We Had It All, Walker reformed The Walker Brothers and signed to GTO Records. The reunited group recorded three albums together, 1975's No Regrets, 1976's Lines and 1978's Nite Flights. No Regrets and Lines had continued the musical vein of MOR County Pop cover versions that Walker had followed on his previous two solo albums. The title track of No Regrets had become a hit single in early 1976, but critically and commercially both albums were unsuccessful.

The group began recording Nite Flights aware that GTO was soon to collapse. The decision was made to produce an album of their own compositions without compromise.[2] The resulting album emphasised an art rock and disco sound utilising harder drum sounds, synthesizers, and electric guitars. The three group members each wrote and sang their own compositions. Scott's four songs – "Shut Out", "Fat Mama Kick", "Nite Flights", and "The Electrician" – were his first original compositions since 1970's 'Til the Band Comes In. Walker's song-writing displayed remarkable growth from his 1960s work and owed more in common with the music of David Bowie, Brian Eno and Lou Reed. The extremely dark and discomforting sound of Scott's songs, particularly "The Electrician", were to prove a forerunner to the direction of his future solo work.

Nite Flights was released in 1978 to poor sales figures but warm critical opinion, especially Scott's contributions. In the period after the album Walker was without a record deal, and remarked in an interview with the journalist Alan Bangs that he had lived on "not a lot" between Nite Flights and Climate of Hunter.[3] Walker compared himself to Orson Welles, a great man everyone wants to meet, but for whom nobody will finance their next project. Out of his now good critical standing a trio of compilations were released in the early 1980s and a long term deal with Virgin Records was made. Ardent fan Julian Cope assembled a collection of Walker originals titled Fire Escape in the Sky: The Godlike Genius of Scott Walker in 1981, quickly followed by Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel and The Best of Scott Walker. In spite of signing a new deal, Walker was slow to begin writing his first album for the label.

Recording and music[edit]

While Walker was slow to begin writing, the seven songs composed for the album were completed and recorded quickly in the second last six months of 1983. The album was produced with Peter Walsh who had recently worked with Simple Minds on their break-through album, 1982's New Gold Dream (81–82–83–84). Together with Walsh, Walker assembled a band of seasoned session players and luminaries such as free-improvising saxophone player Evan Parker, Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler on guitar and the R&B singer Billy Ocean.

Discussing the recording of the album for the documentary Scott Walker: 30 Century Man (2006), Walsh explained that the musicians were expected to record their parts without knowing the melody to any of the songs, in part because Walker had not recorded any demos and simply because the melody was "a closely guarded secret". Walker explains that if the melody was known it would take the song away from the "concentrated place" he intended. The intention was to "keep everything a little disjointed" so there is "no chance of everyone swinging together".

The resulting songs are driven and founded around Peter Van Hooke's drums, Mo Foster's bass and Walker's vocals. Guitars, synthesizers, brass and strings are each used sparingly with abstract results. An orchestra is prominent on "Rawhide" and is the lone accompaniment on "Sleepwalkers Woman", while guitars come to the fore on "Track Three", "Track Seven" and "Blanket Roll Blues".

Walker made the unusual choice to give half of the tracks on Climate of Hunter numerical titles. He explained in a TV interview on music programme The Tube that the songs were complete and that titles might 'lopside' or 'overload' them, presumably giving artificially undue weight to one line of the lyric over the others.[4] The songs have since been attributed the informal titles "Delayed" ("Track Three"), "It's a Starving" ("Track Five"), "Say It" ("Track Six"), and "Stump of a Drowner" ("Track Seven").

Releases[edit]

Climate of Hunter was first released in March 1984 as an LP in the UK by Virgin Records. The album was re-released on LP and CD as part of Virgin records 'compact price' range in the mid-1980s. A remastered edition of the album was released in the UK by Virgin and EMI on 30 January 2006. It included revised artwork and new liner notes by Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[5]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[6]

Climate of Hunter received mixed to positive reviews by the majority of critics.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Scott Walker, August–September 1983, except "Blanket Roll Blues" (words by Tennessee Williams, music by Kenyon Hopkins). Orchestral arrangements by Brian Gascoigne.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Rawhide"   3:55
2. "Dealer"   5:12
3. "Track Three" (Informal title: "Delayed") 3:50
4. "Sleepwalkers Woman"   4:11
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "Track Five" (Informal title: "It's a Starving") 3:35
6. "Track Six" (Informal title: "Say It") 3:12
7. "Track Seven" (Informal title: "Stump of a Drowner") 3:46
8. "Blanket Roll Blues"   3:16

Personnel[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom March 1984 (1984-03)[7] Virgin LP V 2303
UK Virgin CD ('Compact Price') CDV 2303
UK January 30, 2006 (2006-01-30)[7] Virgin CD CDVR 2303

Charts[edit]

Chart Position
UK Albums Chart[1] 60

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Chart Stats - Scott Walker". chartstats.com. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  2. ^ Williams, Lewis (2006). Scott Walker - The Rhymes of Goodbye (1st ed.). London: Plexus. p. 144. ISBN 0-85965-395-1. 
  3. ^ Williams, Lewis (2006). Scott Walker - The Rhymes of Goodbye (1st ed.). London: Plexus. p. 158. ISBN 0-85965-395-1. 
  4. ^ Williams, Lewis (2006). Scott Walker - The Rhymes of Goodbye (1st ed.). London: Plexus. p. 156. ISBN 0-85965-395-1. 
  5. ^ Allmusic review
  6. ^ The Guardian review
  7. ^ a b "Release: Climate of Hunter - MusicBrainz". Retrieved 2010-08-10.