Nico – Desertshore (1970/2023) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Nico – Desertshore (1970/2023)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 29:16 minutes | 1,11 GB | Genre: Avantgarde, Experimental
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Domino Recording Co

Desertshore is Nico’s third solo album, recorded and released in 1970. It was co-produced by John Cale and Joe Boyd. Like its predecessor The Marble Index (HE 68005LP, 2023), it is an avant-garde album with chamber music elements. The back and front covers feature stills from the film La cicatrice interieure by Philippe Garrel, which starred Nico, Garrel and her son Ari Boulogne. A few of the songs from the album were included on the soundtrack of the film.

While Nico was the member of the Velvet Underground who had had the least experience in music prior to joining the group (while she had recorded a pop single in England, she’d never been a member of a working band before Andy Warhol introduced her to the Velvets), she was also the one who strayed farthest from traditional rock & roll after her brief tenure with the band, and by the time she recorded Desertshore, her work had little (if anything) to do with traditional Western pop. John Cale, who produced and arranged Desertshore, once described the music as having more to do with 20th century classical music than anything else, and while that may be going a bit far to make a point, even compared to the avant-rock frenzy of the Velvet Underground’s early material, Desertshore is challenging stuff. Nico’s dour Teutonic monotone is a compelling but hardly welcoming vocal presence, and the songs, centered around the steady drone of her harmonium, are often grim meditations on fate that are crafted and performed with inarguable skill and intelligence, but are also a bit samey, and the album’s downbeat tone gets to be rough sledding by the end of side two. Cale’s arrangements are superb throughout, and “My Only Child,” “Afraid,” and “The Falconer” are quite beautiful in their own ascetic way, but like the bulk of Nico’s repertoire, Desertshore is an album practically designed to polarize its listeners; you’ll either embrace it’s darkness or give up on it before the end of side one. Then again, given the thoroughly uncompromising nature of her career as a musician, that’s probably just what Nico had in mind. – Mark Deming

1-01. Nico – Janitor Of Lunacy (04:03)
1-02. Nico – The Falconer (05:42)
1-03. Nico – My Only Child (03:30)
1-04. Nico – Le Petit Chevalier (01:16)
1-05. Nico – Abschied (03:04)
1-06. Nico – Afraid (03:30)
1-07. Nico – Mutterlein (04:39)
1-08. Nico – All That Is My Own (03:28)


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