Wed, Feb. 11, 9pm EST - 'Desertshore' by Nico

Haunting. Beautiful. Gothic. Intimate. Hypnotic. Avant-garde.  These are but a handful of wide-ranging adjectives that can be used to describe this engaging and deeply personal work of art.  It would be difficult to claim that Nico's 'Desertshore' is an easy listen.  It's not.  But often times a treasured gem is the reward of digging through a tough outer layer.

To be fair, this was never supposed to be a pop record. Nico does play an instrument while she sings, but it's not a mainstream instrument like the guitar, keyboard, bass or even the drums.  It's a harmonium.  A portable indian harmonium in fact.  The combination of her emotional voice and this unique instrument really establish the gloomy backbone of the album.  And further filling out the aural landscape are the brilliant orchestral arrangements of her familiar collaborator John Cale.

Nico never set out to create art that would be embraced by the masses.  But that doesn't mean she didn't produce works that she was passionate about and believed in.  This may be a gloomy album, but if all music was happy, would it be very interesting? I, for one, certainly don't think so.

So join me for "Album Night" on Wednesday, February 11th at 9pm EST, for a pilgrimage into the dark world of Nico.

33 comments

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Hi everyone. Here are some links related to Desertshore in advance of the event. There's definitely some very interesting information contained within! This one starts out with the line: "What does it say about a human being when her son tries to sell her leftover methadone at her funeral in order to finance a habit to which she introduced him? " http://www.tinymixtapes.com/delorean/nico-desertshore http://www.headheritage.co.uk/unsung/thebookofseth/nico-desertshore http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/59545/Nico-Desertshore/ Lyrics: http://lyrics.wikia.com/Nico:desertshore_(1970)

    Hi everyone. Here are some links related to Desertshore in advance of the event. There's definitely some very interesting information contained within!

    This one starts out with the line: "What does it say about a human being when her son tries to sell her leftover methadone at her funeral in order to finance a habit to which she introduced him? "
    http://www.tinymixtapes.com/delorean/nico-desertshore

    http://www.headheritage.co.uk/unsung/thebookofseth/nico-desertshore
    http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/59545/Nico-Desertshore/

    Lyrics:
    http://lyrics.wikia.com/Nico:desertshore_(1970)

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Hi Everyone. Here's my usual important reminder for tonight's event: *** Please make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted. The site will not automatically update on its own. *** And with that out of the way, I wish everyone an enjoyable listening experience tonight! Anyone out there yet?

    Hi Everyone. Here's my usual important reminder for tonight's event:
    ***
    Please make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted. The site will not automatically update on its own.
    ***

    And with that out of the way, I wish everyone an enjoyable listening experience tonight! Anyone out there yet?

  • Sarah

    Sarah NY

    hi! i'm here. i'm not sure if frightened is the right word, but after checking out the articles, i'm not sure what to expect tonight. nico seems like she was a pretty somber person. but she was also involved in a lot of arts, so she must have been a fairly interesting person if nothing else. i'm ready for anything and everything with this album!

    hi! i'm here. i'm not sure if frightened is the right word, but after checking out the articles, i'm not sure what to expect tonight. nico seems like she was a pretty somber person. but she was also involved in a lot of arts, so she must have been a fairly interesting person if nothing else. i'm ready for anything and everything with this album!

  • David

    David NJ

    Hi all. It's been a while, but I'm back! I'd have to say that I was never really a fan of Nico, but I haven't listened in a while so maybe I'll have a different spin on her now. If nothing else at least she was different. She certainly wasn't the best mother in the world if she introduced her kid to heroin. Tonight I'll just judge her for her art though. Interesting pick John!

    Hi all. It's been a while, but I'm back! I'd have to say that I was never really a fan of Nico, but I haven't listened in a while so maybe I'll have a different spin on her now. If nothing else at least she was different. She certainly wasn't the best mother in the world if she introduced her kid to heroin. Tonight I'll just judge her for her art though. Interesting pick John!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Hi Sarah, David and anyone else yet to show up. Thanks for showing up! I would venture to say that this is the weirdest, or should I say most avant-garde, album that has turned up in the "Album Night" series so far. Of course as they say, 'variety is the spice of life', so I think it will be a rewarding experience for us to listen to this album tonight. I for one am looking forward to it. I hope you all are too!

    Hi Sarah, David and anyone else yet to show up.

    Thanks for showing up! I would venture to say that this is the weirdest, or should I say most avant-garde, album that has turned up in the "Album Night" series so far. Of course as they say, 'variety is the spice of life', so I think it will be a rewarding experience for us to listen to this album tonight. I for one am looking forward to it. I hope you all are too!

  • David

    David NJ

    Let's get to it!

    Let's get to it!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    And we're off! "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'Desertshore' by Nico. Share your thoughts right here as you listen!

    And we're off! "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'Desertshore' by Nico. Share your thoughts right here as you listen!

  • David

    David NJ

    I'm following the lyrics along on the link provided and they're actually pretty good. "Janitor of lunacy, identify my destiny".

    I'm following the lyrics along on the link provided and they're actually pretty good. "Janitor of lunacy, identify my destiny".

  • Sarah

    Sarah NY

    i'm guessing that the dominant instrument is the harmonium i was reading about? so far it's not terrible. she has a distinct voice

    i'm guessing that the dominant instrument is the harmonium i was reading about? so far it's not terrible. she has a distinct voice

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yes, Sarah, that is the harmonium. A pretty interesting instrument if you do some research on it. It definitely fills out the harmonic spectrum! David - I agree with you on the lyrics. They fit well with the music. I mean what else could go with "janitor of lunacy"?

    Yes, Sarah, that is the harmonium. A pretty interesting instrument if you do some research on it. It definitely fills out the harmonic spectrum!

    David - I agree with you on the lyrics. They fit well with the music. I mean what else could go with "janitor of lunacy"?

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    "And the lovely silver traces erase My empty pages" I agree with you again David. And now we're onto "My Only Child". Some nice harmonies to start this one off

    "And the lovely silver traces erase
    My empty pages"
    I agree with you again David.
    And now we're onto "My Only Child". Some nice harmonies to start this one off

  • Sarah

    Sarah NY

    there's barely any instruments in this one, but it still sounds pretty full. her voice really fills out the song nicely

    there's barely any instruments in this one, but it still sounds pretty full. her voice really fills out the song nicely

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    "Le Petit Chevalier" is sung by her son Ari. I think he was her only son, so he must be the one she hooked on smack, sadly. Not sure how old he was when singing the song, but obviously he was just a child. Translation is here: http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858690172/

    "Le Petit Chevalier" is sung by her son Ari. I think he was her only son, so he must be the one she hooked on smack, sadly. Not sure how old he was when singing the song, but obviously he was just a child.

    Translation is here:
    http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858690172/

  • David

    David NJ

    kind of haunting, that one. The Little Knight...

    kind of haunting, that one. The Little Knight...

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    We're on to the 5th track already, "Abschied". I know this is a short album, but it's flying by!

    We're on to the 5th track already, "Abschied". I know this is a short album, but it's flying by!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Btw, I couldn't find a translation for this one, so I'll be focusing on the music. I tried just translating the lyrics online, but it's bumpy to say the least

    Btw, I couldn't find a translation for this one, so I'll be focusing on the music. I tried just translating the lyrics online, but it's bumpy to say the least

  • Sarah

    Sarah NY

    I like this one, 'afraid'. strings are really nice with the piano. is that john cale playing viola?

    I like this one, 'afraid'. strings are really nice with the piano. is that john cale playing viola?

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Sarah - I'm not sure but that would make a lot of sense (Cale on viola). And I agree with you on this song. It's kind of beautiful. A lot of contrasting feelings through this album so far

    Sarah - I'm not sure but that would make a lot of sense (Cale on viola). And I agree with you on this song. It's kind of beautiful. A lot of contrasting feelings through this album so far

  • David

    David NJ

    And now we're back to weird and dark with "Mutterlein". The ebb and flow of the album/ Potentially representative of Nico's life too

    And now we're back to weird and dark with "Mutterlein". The ebb and flow of the album/ Potentially representative of Nico's life too

  • Sarah

    Sarah NY

    i wish i spoke german so i knew what she was singing!

    i wish i spoke german so i knew what she was singing!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah, me too Sarah! I couldn't find any kind of translation for this one either unfortunately. The music is kind of dark so I'm guessing the lyrics aren't happy ones... :)

    Yeah, me too Sarah! I couldn't find any kind of translation for this one either unfortunately. The music is kind of dark so I'm guessing the lyrics aren't happy ones... smile

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Last track already! "All That is My Own". Should have done a double tonight. This one's too short

    Last track already! "All That is My Own". Should have done a double tonight. This one's too short

  • David

    David NJ

    For Nico though, I think a thirty minute album is perfect. As much as I've been pleasantly surprised by listening to this again, I don't know if I could have handled 60 minutes of this

    For Nico though, I think a thirty minute album is perfect. As much as I've been pleasantly surprised by listening to this again, I don't know if I could have handled 60 minutes of this

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I hear you on that David. Btw, interesting how the album title "desertshore" shows up in this song multiple times yet the song is titled "All That is My Own"

    I hear you on that David. Btw, interesting how the album title "desertshore" shows up in this song multiple times yet the song is titled "All That is My Own"

  • Sarah

    Sarah NY

    30 minutes exactly. i'd have to say that i wasn't turned off or horrified like i thought i might be. other than not being able to understand the lyrics for a few songs, it was actually an album i will listen to again. it's certainly not pop music, but if you know that going in, it actually has a lot to offer. i think 'afraid' was my favorite track. for the first time listening through anyway. thanks for helping me expand my horizons john!

    30 minutes exactly. i'd have to say that i wasn't turned off or horrified like i thought i might be. other than not being able to understand the lyrics for a few songs, it was actually an album i will listen to again. it's certainly not pop music, but if you know that going in, it actually has a lot to offer. i think 'afraid' was my favorite track. for the first time listening through anyway. thanks for helping me expand my horizons john!

  • David

    David NJ

    Like I said, definitely not as bad as I remember. Certainly positive aspects can be taken from it. This one will stay dusted off for the time being and probably get another listen or two at the right time. It kind of demands attention because if you just put in the background it will probably just sound frightening!

    Like I said, definitely not as bad as I remember. Certainly positive aspects can be taken from it. This one will stay dusted off for the time being and probably get another listen or two at the right time. It kind of demands attention because if you just put in the background it will probably just sound frightening!

  • Sarah

    Sarah NY

    what's up next john?

    what's up next john?

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Good question Sarah! :) "Album Night" will return on Wed, February 25 with 'The Bends' by Radiohead. We're just over a month away from the 20th anniversary of its release. I can't believe it's that old already. It will be much different than 'Desertshore', to state the obvious!

    Good question Sarah! smile

    "Album Night" will return on Wed, February 25 with 'The Bends' by Radiohead.

    We're just over a month away from the 20th anniversary of its release. I can't believe it's that old already. It will be much different than 'Desertshore', to state the obvious!

  • David

    David NJ

    Great album. I'm going to try to be back for that one. Thanks again John! I thoroughly enjoy these events!

    Great album. I'm going to try to be back for that one. Thanks again John! I thoroughly enjoy these events!

  • Sarah

    Sarah NY

    can't go wrong with radiohead! i'll be back!

    can't go wrong with radiohead! i'll be back!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Thanks Sarah and David for coming to "Album Night" and making it a great event! Please take a moment on your way out to cast a vote for 'Desertshore'. It's on the main "Album Night" page. A simple thumbs up or down, for tonight's album. Thanks again for coming! I look forward to listening to more great music with you all!

    Thanks Sarah and David for coming to "Album Night" and making it a great event!

    Please take a moment on your way out to cast a vote for 'Desertshore'. It's on the main "Album Night" page. A simple thumbs up or down, for tonight's album.

    Thanks again for coming! I look forward to listening to more great music with you all!

  • Sarah

    Sarah NY

    will do! ciao guys!

    will do! ciao guys!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    The results of the poll are in. Despite being somewhat of a gloomy album, Nico's 'Desertshore' received all thumbs up from our voters. Thanks again to all who joined the event and voted!

    The results of the poll are in. Despite being somewhat of a gloomy album, Nico's 'Desertshore' received all thumbs up from our voters. Thanks again to all who joined the event and voted!

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