Tilt (Scott Walker album)

Last updated

Tilt - Scott Walker.jpg
Studio album by
Released8 May 1995
Studio RAK Studios, Townhouse Studios
Producer Scott Walker and Peter Walsh
Scott Walker chronology
Climate of Hunter
Pola X soundtrack
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [4]
Chicago Tribune Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [5]
The Guardian Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [6]
Pitchfork 8.6/10 [7]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [8]
Spin 8/10 [9]
SputnikmusicStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [10]

Tilt is the twelfth studio album by the American/English solo artist Scott Walker. It was released on 8 May 1995. It was Walker's first studio album in eleven years.


Walker composed the songs for the album between 1991 and 1992 except "Manhattan", which was written in 1987, and the final song "Rosary", which was composed in 1993. The album was recorded at RAK Studios and Townhouse Studios in the UK and its release had been expected as early as 1992 [11] but was not completed until 1995. The album is the first installment of a "trilogy" that went on to include The Drift (2006) and Bish Bosch (2012). [12]


The songs on the album have a decidedly bleak, forlorn and funereal mood; the lyrics are replete with arcane allusions and recondite wordplay and ellipses. Like Walker's previous effort, Climate of Hunter (1984), Tilt combines elements of European avant-garde and experimental elements, along with industrial music influences. The unusual literary, musical and performance qualities of Walker's songwriting and singing are reminiscent of the lieder and "art song" traditions – forms which long predate the era of recorded popular music and electronic media.

The compositions emphasize abstract atmospherics over harmonic structure, with minimalist, slightly discordant "sound blocks" and trance-like repetition rendered through carefully nuanced instrumentation and sparsely deployed sonic effects. Walker's voice resonates in a cavernous echo, taking on a haunted, distant, desolate quality, which one reviewer characterized as "Samuel Beckett at La Scala".

The opening track, "Farmer in the City", is subtitled "Remembering Pasolini". A few of the lyrics are appropriated from Norman Macafee's English translation of Pier Paolo Pasolini's poem, "Uno dei tanti epiloghi" ("One of the Many Epilogs"), which was written in 1969 for Pasolini's friend and protégé, the scruffy young nonprofessional actor, Ninetto Davoli. Throughout the song, Walker's chant of "Do I hear 21, 21, 21...? I'll give you 21, 21, 21...", may be a reference to Davoli's age when he was drafted into (and subsequently deserted from) the Italian army.

The lyrics of "The Cockfighter" include "excerpts relocated from the trial of Queen Caroline and the trial of Adolf Eichmann". "Bolivia '95" is apparently a song about South American refugees. The subtitle of "Manhattan", "flȇrdelē'", is a phonetic-matching corruption of the term fleur de lis , which is mentioned in the lyrics of the song.

In addition to a core lineup of musicians playing rock instruments, the recording also features contributions from the strings of Sinfonia of London and the Methodist Central Hall Pipe Organ, which were arranged and conducted by frequent collaborator Brian Gascoigne.

Track listing

All tracks are written by N. S. Engel (Scott Walker).

Side One
1."Farmer in the City (Remembering Pasolini)"6:38
2."The Cockfighter"6:01
3."Bouncer See Bouncer..."8:50
4."Manhattan (flȇrdelē')"6:05
Total length:27:34
Side Two
5."Face on Breast"5:15
6."Bolivia '95"7:44
7."Patriot (A single)"8:28
Total length:29:21



Additional players

Promo singles

Two promo CDs were released to promote Tilt on the radio and in record stores, containing edited versions of Tilt songs.

Scott 1 (Fontana – EEFR 1) [13]

  1. "Patriot (a single)" (edit) – 4:40
  2. "The Cockfighter" (edit) – 4:07

Scott 2 (Fontana - EEFR 2) [14]

  1. "Tilt" (edit) – 4:38
  2. "Farmer in the City" (edit) – 4:37


Chart performance for Tilt
UK Albums Chart [15] 27

Release history

Receiving excellent reviews from critics the album was first released in Europe as a limited edition LP and CD in May 1995 before it was released in the US in 1997. The artwork for the album was designed by Stylorouge with photography and image manipulation of Walker's hand by David Scheinmann from a concept by Walker.

Release history for Tilt
United Kingdom8 May 1995 [16] Fontana CD526 859-2
United Kingdom8 May 1995FontanaLP (Limited Edition)526 859-1
United States2 September 1997 Drag City CDDC134CD
United States18 November 2008Drag CityLPDC134

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  1. Murray, Noel (6 December 2012). "Navigating the diverse, difficult musical career of Scott Walker". The A.V. Club . Retrieved 13 August 2018. As for fans of the intense avant-garde exercises of Tilt and The Drift...
  2. Dennis, Jon (5 March 2014). "10 of the best: Scott Walker". The Guardian . Retrieved 13 August 2018. Tilt (1995), the first of his trilogy of experimental albums
  3. Pitchfork Staff (28 September 2022). "The 150 Best Albums of the 1990s". Pitchfork . Retrieved 26 April 2023. ...11 years after releasing the orchestral Climate of Hunter, Walker burst from the abyss with a disturbed industrial opera.
  4. Thompson, Dave. "Tilt – Scott Walker". AllMusic . Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  5. Kot, Greg (24 October 1997). "Scott Walker: Tilt (Drag City)". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  6. Sullivan, Caroline (5 May 1995). "Scott Walker: Tilt (Fontana)". The Guardian .
  7. Monroe, Jazz (26 June 2022). "Scott Walker: Tilt". Pitchfork . Retrieved 26 June 2022.
  8. Kemp, Rob (16 October 1997). "Scott Walker: Tilt". Rolling Stone . Archived from the original on 29 June 2001. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  9. Rotter, Jeffrey (October 1997). "Scott Walker: Tilt". Spin . Vol. 13, no. 7. pp. 142–143. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  10. "Scott Walker- Tilt (album review 3)" . Retrieved 7 July 2022.{{cite web}}: |first= missing |last= (help)
  11. Williams, Lewis (2006). Scott Walker - The Rhymes of Goodbye (1st ed.). London: Plexus. p. 161. ISBN   0-85965-395-1.
  12. Hattenstone, Simon (23 November 2012). "Scott Walker: 'I was an intense young guy. I think I did temporarily go crazy'". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  13. "Scott 1 (CD, Single, Promo) at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  14. "Scott 2 (CD, Single, Promo) at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  15. "The Official Charts Company - Scott Walker". Official Charts Company . Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  16. "Release: Tilt - MusicBrainz" . Retrieved 10 August 2010.