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How ironic is it that Scott Walker, the man best known for his voiceand reclusive nature, has of recent written primarily instrumental workand made several appearances?
 Walker has been busy the past year with "Only Myself to Blame" on thelatest Bond movie soundtrack, two songs for the latest Ute Lemper album"Punishing Kiss" and curator of this year's Meltdown Festival at theRoyal Festival Hall in London, as well as a 'Dance Project' score forsaid event. And now this soundtrack, the first major new release fromWalker since 1995's rather difficult masterpiece "Tilt". "Pola X" is aFrench film (with English subtitles) based upon the Herman Melvillenovel "Pierre", directed and co-written by Leos Carax. The basic storyis a young author meets his long lost sister and they begin anincestuous relationship. The soundtrack is composed and produced byWalker, a serious cinemaphile, with 5 tracks by others, and is pepperedwith dialogue and sounds from the film. Of Walker's 11 tracks, 34minutes total, about half feature the Paris Philharmonic asorchestrated by longtime Walker keyboardist / arranger Brian Gascoigne.Most of these are brief string compositions, beautiful and foreboding.The remaining Walker tracks are short sound effects / dialogue / samplecollages (Walker even samples his own "The Cockfighter" in the openingtrack) or similar to those found on "Tilt": bizarre barrages of guitarand percussion. "The Church of the Apostles" in particular builds afrenzied attack for nearly six minutes. "Never Again" is a minute ofswirling noise slabs interspersed with a heavy duty beat and ragga rap... possibly the oddest thing Walker has ever done. This materialreally whets the appetite for the always on the horizon, new 'album inprogress' by Walker. And now for the rest of the disc. "Extra Blues" bySMOG is just plain tedious with inane lyrics and dreadful half spoken /half-sung vocals. "Iza Kana Zanbi" by Fairuz is nearly 9 minutes ofswooping strings, hand percussion, chanting and female / male wailingall with a bit of a gypsy vibe, very cinematic and entertaining. Tracks8 and 9 are throwaway bits of Vietnamese karaoke. "Blink" by SonicYouth is a wonderful surprise as I'm not normally a SY fan. Kimspeak-sings seductively over an ambient mix of drone, light percussionand guitar taps and pluckings. Unfortunately, I'm unable to experiencethis soundtrack within the intended context of the film as I've neverseen it (and probably never will) but overall most of it does hold upwell on it's own. Though, the $24 import price will likely keep mostaway, save for Walker and Sonic Youth fanatics. Walker is currently atMeltdown through July 2nd and the film is due out in the fall ...