Archive for the ‘nico’ Category

transition: heroïne

December 13, 2007

gorgeous nico. sad nico. nico the topmodel (although the term did not exist at that time). nico the singer with the deep voice. nico the singer with that german accent. nico the junkie. nico the real chelsea girl.

aaahhh – nico is definitly one of the great (underground) icons – she made rather dark, sometimes nearly scary music, appealing through time to people from andy warhol (who brought her into velvet underground) to john cale (who worked with her on numerous occassions) to joy division (she covered some of their sings and worked with their producer) to alain delon (with whom she had a child who is rumoured to be the father of her child – too funny that this illegimite son looks exactly like alain delon) to marc almond (with whom she recorded her last song – a duet on his record the stars we are – the inner sleeve shows some nices shots of them together shooting some pool).

somehow i feel that she fits right here quite nicely in this row of interesting artists with unique voices, living (part) of their lives on the fast lane – being no strangers to the darker sides of live. and she makes for a nice transition into the darker tinged sides of a certain musical style that will come up next… and i wanted to post it since quite a while, anyway.

next to her official releases there are many many many bootlegs of nico around – always have been – i guess she always has been a favourite of the crowd also interested in bootlegs. and hearing her sing and wail and declame on live recordings has a special kind of chilling effect…

so this time you get one of the lesser known bootlegs (at least i haven’t seen it around on the www)- it is actually a collection of different recordings from different times called death & the maiden, it’s a vinyl bootleg, issued by the nico appreciation society in holland, limited to 500 copies on coloured vinyl (yep, it’s numbered by hand) and is already remarkable for its cover, showing nico as a very young woman with still blond (and short) hair, taken by jeanloup sieff. later she let her hair grow and tinted it jet-black…fitting the dark style of her music.


the tracklist reads as follows:

Side 1
1. Improvisation (cale/morrison/nico/reed/tucker), with the velvet undergound at e.p.i. show, columbus, ohio, november 1966
2. Vuelo Quimico (michel huygen) with neuronium, 1978
3. Secret Side / The Extension Of The Eye (nico), cbgb’s, new york, 19/2/1979
4. No One Is There (nico), live 1970 with john cale
Side 2
1. Saeta (nico/quilichini), john peel 9/1981
2. Purple Lips (+interview) (nico), french tv, 26/4/1975
3. Child’s Christmas In Wales (cale), live with john cale in new york, 16/6/1979
4. New York, New York (f. ebb/j. kander), live in new york, 12/8/1981
5. Chelsea Girls (+interview) (morrison/reed), hotel room demo
6. I’m Not Sayin’ (lightfoot), immediate single, 1965
7. The Last Mile (oldham/page), immediate single, 1965
8. Purple Lips (nico), live bremen, 5/11/1987

yes, it is a varied collection: from the rather noisy first rack with velvet underground we go to the faszinating second track which is a synthsoundscape (think tangerine dream) with just some words spoken to rather odd live recordings (new york, new york) to her folksy early singles to the last track, a beautiful version of purple lips, which strange enough reminds me somehow of dead can dance. and then there are also some little snippets of her talking thrown in… this might all sound rather wild – but it is actually nice, because it does not insist (like many nico bootlegs) on a dark & doom atmopshere. somehow it is like listening to “nico radio”. the quality ranges from o.k. to pretty a degree amazingly so, since 1. there are so many really grotty nico bootlegs around, 2. it is pressed on coloured vinyl, which usually isn’t such good quality as the black one, and 3. they filled both sides to the brim with music, which also does not enhance the qualitiy of the pressing. but regardless of all that, it is a very nice record, and i think a very interesting one, too.

but listen for yourself! you can get Nico – Death & the Maiden, ripped from vinyl@224, here.

for more nico you can of course search the net (there is a lot of stuff around), or you can obtain the very interesting and very good movie by susan ofteringer nico icon, which is available on dvd. here the link to the production firm, and here a link to see some excerpts of the movie.

UPDATE: more nico in the comments!