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Old 05.17.2007, 09:39 AM   #61
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CD Liner Notes by Richard Williams

"I have a habit of leaving places just at the wrong time, just when something big might have happened for me." With those words, Nico wrote her own epitaph for a career and a life which beguiled several generations of rock fans who thought they recognized in her a quality of mystery, of otherness, of forbidden pleasure and dark romance.

She didn't much care to talk about the past, but there are two or three things I know about her. She was born Christa Päffgen (or perhaps Pafgens, or maybe Pfaffen) in Budapest to Spanish and Yugoslav parents on March 15, 1943. She lived in Cologne as an infant, and later spoke of hiding in the family bathtub as the bombs fell; she once told me that her father had died in a concentration camp. Educated in France, Italy and Germany, she became fluent in seven languages. In 1958, while on vacation at a friend's house in Rome (actually, the legend says a palazzo), the tall 15-year-old with a helmet of ash-blonde hair and the face of a frozen angel found her way onto the set of Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita. Carrying a candelabra as an extra in a party scene, she attracted the attention of the maestro, who wrote her in a proper part. Her mother was said to have disapproved; nevertheless, she had found her world. Soon there were Vogue covers, and some time in the next few years she studied at the Actors' Studio in New York, although it is hard to imagine that Lee Strasberg had much to teach her. She was already a presence; the method was entirely her own.

She took her professional name from a boyfriend, the filmmaker Nico Papatakis. In 1963, in a meeting of perfect early-Sixties hair-styles, she had a son by the French movie heartthrob Alain Delon. Not long afterwards she began a significant liaison with her own mirror image: Brian Jones, the bad boy of the Rolling Stones, who introduced her to Bob Dylan. In New York, the poet Gerard Malanga introduced her to Andy Warhol. In 1965, in a scene that could have been lifted directly from Time magazine's famous cover story on Swinging London, she met the show-business entrepreneur Jo Lustig at a party hosted by Cubby Broccoli, co-producer of the James Bond movies. "I want to be a singer," she told Lustig, as she probably told many others. A few weeks later she was on Ready, Steady, Go, British TV's Friday night mod-scene showcase, promoting her first single. A folk-rock version of a Gordon Lightfoot tune,
I'm Not Saying was produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones' manager, for his own Immediate label, and featured Jimmy Page on guitar. Somehow, among the Mariannes and Dustys and Sandies, she failed to register.

Within months, though, her liaison with Andy Warhol bore stranger fruit. She had already starred in one of his films,
Chelsea Girls, and was singing as a solo act at the Blue Angel on East 55th Street in New York when he suggested that she join the Velvet Underground, the new avant-garde rock group in which he had taken an interest. The Velvets were to be part of a multi-media troupe consisting of Factory denizens which made its debut at the Film-Makers' Cinémathèque in the 41st Street Theatre in February 1966. The show was titled "Andy Warhol, Up-tight", and consisted of films by Warhol, music by the Velvets and Nico, dancing by the actress Edie Minturn Sedgwick and Gerard Malanga, lights by Danny Williams and slide projections by Paul Morrissey. Later in the year, minus Sedgwick and plus Ingrid Superstar and Mary Woronov, and now going under the name of "The Exploding Plastic Inevitable," the troupe began a residency at the Dom, a Polish dance hall on St. Mark's Place. All published accounts suggest that they created an atmosphere of single-minded decadence utterly new to rock. The light shows and Malanga's whip-dancing would no doubt look naive now, but we have the evidence of The Velvet Underground and Nico, the group's first LP, released in the spring of 1967, to attest to the lasting dramatic potency of the music, although nothing other than the grainy, bleached-out black and white of Factory home movies and stills can reveal to us the sight of the pale European ice goddess fronting the sullen black-clad combo.

Nico's featured songs were two of Lou Reed's poisoned (ones),
Femme Fatale and I'll Be Your Mirror. (& also) All Tomorrow's Parties where the existential boredom of Reed's lyric met the full force of John Cale's mutant rock'n'roll vision. Cale's gift to music was the forcing together of overdriven electric guitars with the remorseless pounding of the systems-music keyboard style which he had pioneered in earlier collaborations with the likes of Terry Riley, LaMonte Young and Angus MacLise, the Velvets' original percussionist. Thus did Nico become a focal point of the most enthralling and influential rock'n'roll experiment since the day Elvis Presley decided that he wanted to sound black.

The mingled indifference and scorn which greeted the Velvets is now part of rock folklore. Their luck was abysmal: signed by MGM, which had little rock experience, they just missed being recruited by Brian Epstein, who would have put the muscle of the Beatles' management behind them, and travel-budget problems prevented their participation in the London club scene of Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up, their role going to Yardbirds. Their revenge was not to come for more than a decade, and when it did it could be seen that their influence on successive generations of rock musicians was without equal. In their time, though, commercial failure cost them dear. Nico's membership in the group did not outlast 1967. By the end of that year, she was again appearing as a solo performer, singing in the downstairs room of the Dom, assisted by a remarkable succession of accompanists, including Cale, Reed, their Velvets colleague Sterling Morrison, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Tim Buckley, Tim Hardin and a 17-year-old singer and guitarist from Orange County, California, named Jackson Browne, with whom Nico had embarked on an affair.

Browne gave her two gorgeous ballads,
These Days, and The Fairest of the Seasons, for her debut solo album in 1968, while Dylan presented her with I'll Keep It with Mine and Tim Hardin delivered Eulogy to Lenny Bruce. Most of the rest came from Reed/Cale team, including the title song, Chelsea Girls. Larry Fallon's arrangements used a small string section to flesh out the basic folk-rock rhythm tracks; the effect was conservative, but with a distinctive reserved charm. Her voice was cool, dispassionate, reflected in Paul Morissey's cover shots, which preserved for all time the look of the perfect pensive, passive, high-cheekboned blonde.
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Old 05.17.2007, 09:39 AM   #62
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By the time she came to record her next album, in 1969, all that cool conservatism was changing into something more original, more personal, far more unexpected. The Marble Index is one of the most uncompromising albums ever to be filed under rock: the first to abandon conventional structures and instrumentation, it was really the product of two European sensibilities — Nico's and John Cale's, the glacial mood and now-deepened voice of one allied to astonishingly imaginative musicianship of the other. The key to it lay in her espousal of a small portable Indian harmonium which she had bought, mastered in a basic sort of way, and used as the tool not just of performance but of composition. Like many rock composers, her technical limitations defined her style: the see-sawing two-chord vamps provided the hypnotic setting for her simple but often fresh melodies, which seem to have sprung from some ancient Central European folk memory. The plainless of the material left Cale plenty of room in which to display his matchless command of contrasting and sometimes conflicting sonorities (what, for example, has the dark twangy guitar which stumbles to a subdued halt in the final seconds of Lawns of Dawns to do with the weird clattering and tintinnabulating that engulfs the rest of the song ?). On the other hand, with Nibelungen (one of two previously unreleased tracks included here), he could leave her voice totally unaccompanied, eliminating even the harmonium.

Despite winning the awestruck admiration of the readers of such counter-cultural news sheets as the East Village Other and International Times, The Marble Index failed to challenge the supremacy of Nashville Skyline, From Elvis in Memphis, Abbey Road and Diana Ross And The Supremes Meet The Temptations in the album charts of 1969. It marked the end of her relationship with the Elektra label, which had seemed (thanks to its patronage of Tim Buckley, the Doors and others) a natural home for her. Subsequent solo albums were to appear on Warner Brothers (
Desertshore, 1970), Island (The End, 1974), Aura (Drama of Exile, 1981), VU (Live in Denmark, 1983), Beggars' Banquet (Camera Obscura, 1985) and Dojo (Behind the Iron Curtain, 1986).

Such frequent movement might suggest either the fickleness and fast-results demands of the record industry, or an artist with a difficult temperament. Or both, which was the case of Nico. Even when she produced something as gorgeous as
Sãeta, a single released on a British indie label in the early Eighties, she managed to press self-destruction button. She was there and then she was not there. That was Nico, and it was what her original fans had sensed from the start. The music was part of the life, not — however much she protested that she wanted to be famous or popular — simply the means to an end in a career structure.

People who met her in later years were often disconcerted. Fed on the image of the aloof Dolce Vita blonde ("another cooler Dietrich for another cooler generation", in John Wilcock's unforgettable description), they found an earthy contralto with dark hennaed hair, shapeless brown robes in thick woollen material covering Cossack trousers and scuffed motorcycle boots. On stage she sat impassive, imperturbable, intoning her songs and pumping the harmonium and occasionally smiling her small, secretive smile regardless of whether the audience was worshipful or derisive. (She loved to shock: once, in West Berlin in the mid-Seventies, I saw the crowd's respect turn to rage as she sang through all the banned verses of
Deutschland Über Alles, never missing a beat while Cale and Brian Eno, her accompanists, provided the noises of a thousand-bomber raid as a background. Plastic cushions flew through the spotlights as Cale and Eno raised the volume to drown the booing. Goodness knows what was going through her mind just then).

She spent most of her last years fulfilling the demands of a series of threadbare tours, often in Eastern Europe, once in Japan, usually with a small band of devoted English musicians (notably the keyboardist James Young). In private life she shuttled between homes in Manchester and Ibiza, which she had loved for many years and where she died on July 18, 1988, falling from her bicycle after a heart attack, aged 45.

I met her first in 1970, ready to be dazzled by what I imagined her to be, bemused by the fact that she looked nothing like the album covers yet only slightly discomfited when she gently cut short our lunchtime interview and left the pub with a stranger from the next table. It seemed to fit the image; the more so when she called on the telephone a few hours later, ending her conversation with the words: "I'm flying to Ibiza. It's my favourite place. I think I'll die there." That seemed achingly romantic at the time, but after subsequent encounters I came to think that her life was not really romantic at all. There's nothing romantic about heroin, about the scuffing and the cadging and the hustling. Rather than the imaginary romance of the myth, what I hear now in her music — and particularly in The Marble Index — is the combination of a naturally poetic sensibility and an unflinching originality. Back in the Sixties, hanging out at the Factory or on the set of Ready, Steady, Go, who could have guessed that she would turn out to be not a butterfly but a stoic.




 

http://smironne.free.fr/NICO/marb.php
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Old 05.17.2007, 09:44 AM   #63
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kEWL! I've found this picture that i had never seen before. It's kewl.





 
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Old 05.17.2007, 10:06 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarramkrop
Just in case anyone missed it from the thread i had posted this on before:

The Velvet Underground - If It's Too Loud, Move Back! Live Valleydale Ballroom 1966

Enjoy.

http://www.badongo.com/file/2793159

A lossless version is now being seeded. Of course, this is a rough audience recording, so lossless doesn't usually make a whole lot of difference.

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO "Down For You Is Up" Ohio 04 November 1966 by Xraylothep


also
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND "The Wild Side Of The Street" New Hampshire & Boston 1969 by Xraylothep (the NH part is also known as "Hilltop.")
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Old 05.17.2007, 10:21 AM   #65
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I started downloading torrents about a month ago. I have Down For You Is Up already, but thanks a lot for The Wild Side Of The Street tip off.
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Old 05.17.2007, 01:01 PM   #66
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hey I have a velvet underground question that i cant seem to find an answer to.....

ok on the 93 European tour before they took the stage a strange version of "star spangled banner" is played that has wah wah in it. No its not the Hendrix version. Im curious if its actually the VU playing and if not them then who? Does anyone know know what I'm talking about?

I'll upload the song later tonight because its just really cool to hear.
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Old 05.17.2007, 01:49 PM   #67
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I like the pic in the boxset where it looks like there in some office (perhaps their record label's) holding a copy of White Light / White Heat
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Old 05.17.2007, 01:50 PM   #68
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Ferryboat Bill is such an awesome song.
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Old 05.17.2007, 03:12 PM   #69
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I've always thought Lou Reed in that MMM cover photo looked like he was about to draw a weapon...
I always had trouble liking "Loaded" (except the Fully Loaded Edition which was some kind of a compensation) not because it's a bad album but because it was The Velvet Underground sounding like that.
I think Doug Yule squeezed the Velvet, to put it somehow.
But no hard feelings, "Squeeze" doesn't sound that bad, for NOT being a Velvet album. Thanks sarramkrop. I wouldn't have bought that in a million years, hahaha.
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Old 05.17.2007, 03:13 PM   #70
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Today was a very Sister Ray morning for me.
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Old 05.17.2007, 03:17 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbradley
Today was a very Sister Ray morning for me.

I'm almost afraid to ask why it was so.
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Old 05.17.2007, 03:39 PM   #72
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Nah, not the lyrics... just the walking rhythm
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Old 05.17.2007, 03:45 PM   #73
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Just in case anyone cares, The Marble Index is probably in my hypothetical top ten that I won't ever think about other than in vague, ill-defined notions of some records that might, in my head, be in the top ten records of my head. I like it a great deal.
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Old 05.17.2007, 03:51 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarramkrop
John Cale live 1983






 
Hello, I'm back again. Other things to do, some trouble with my internet provider, such were things that kept me from posting.
My first "new" post is a fantastic live performance by the great John Cale from March 7th 1983 in the Markthalle in Hamburg. Just him solo with his guitar and piano, very intense, but also very charming as he was in pretty good mood, joked with the audience and seemed to have a good time himself. Until then I had only heard very little by John Cale, but after this concert I was hooked. I have seen him a few times since then, mostly solo but 2003 he played a free open-air in Oldenburg with a band.

The sound quality is pretty good as it was later broadcasted on NDR 2.

John Cale live 07.03.1983, Markthalle Hamburg part 1

John Cale live 07.03.1983, Markthalle Hamburg part 2 reup!

The second post is a performance John Cale gave in the studios of BFBS in Cologne on February 5th 1984 in Alan Bangs' show Nightflight. It#s not the complete show, only a few songs, among them also a Jonathan Richman song and "Song to the siren" by This Mortal Coil (played on 33rpm!), but that's what was on the tape.

John Cale live 05.02.1984, BFBS

Tracklists are in the comments!
http://not-rock-on.blogspot.com/

In the "just so you know" dept., lossless, complete versions are now being torrented for each of these recordings.

John Cale - Hamburg / CABLE DIGITAL BROADCAST
(1983)
by COLOGNESHARK

JOHN CALE - COLOGNE,BFBS STUDIOS 05.FEB.1984 FM FLAC ** RESEED REQUEST ** by northjersey
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Old 05.17.2007, 04:29 PM   #75
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We continue to honor Nico..."Desertshore", I think it's her best solo album.
I've just learned "Mütterlein" means "Dear little mother"...the child singing "Le Petit Chevalier" is Nico's son, Ari Boulogne.
Produced by John Cale.
"Abschied" and "Mütterlein" are taken from the film "La cicatrice interieure" by Phillipe Garrell.

 


Link: http://download.yousendit.com/7E60DF9F2C34EFB7
(26 MB file)
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Old 05.17.2007, 04:55 PM   #76
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Lou Reed & Nico: The Bedroom Tape




 
Lou Reed and Nico rehearsing in Nico's hotel room. Lots of false starts, very loose. Strictly for the following categories of persons:
(a) Velvet Underground hardcore fans.
(b) Rock Historians.
(c) Those of you whose fathers were very much and are still probably in love with Nico (hint: Christmas gift).
(d) Those of you who'll never bid for this.
(e) All those in (a) to (d) who own earphones other than ipod stock earbuds and equivalent.


All Tomorrow's Parties (various attempts)
These Days (various attempts)
I'll Keep It With Mine (various attempts)
Little Sister (various attempts)
All Tomorrow's Parties (one attempt)
I'll Be Your Mirror (one attempt)
Femme Fatale (one attempt)
I'll Keep It With Mine (various attempts)
Little Queenie (one attempt)
Little Sister 2 (various attempts)
All Tomorrow's Parties 2 (various attempts)
Somebody (one attempt)

 
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Old 05.17.2007, 04:55 PM   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nefeli
Saturday, April 28, 2007

Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music



 
By myrkursoli

Artist: Lou Reed
Album: Metal Machine Music
Released: 1975
Genre
: Noise




July, 1975, Lou Reed responded to his glam rock success with a commercial failure, a double album of electronically generated audio feedback, Metal Machine Music. A rare proto-noise “musical” experience consisting of guitars playing by themselves, conducted by Reed’s distorted/sonic feedback illusions. What was all about then? Critics interpreted it as a gesture of contempt, an attempt to break his contract with RCA or to alienate his less sophisticated fans. But Reed claimed that the album was a genuine artistic effort, dubbing himself at that time “inventor” of heavy metal music! In fact, Reed was following the works of Beethoven, Xenakis and Ernest Coleman’s free-jazz. Today the record is seen as an early form of ambient music and a defining pillar of the no-wave, noise and industrial music movements, having a huge impact on the works of Sonic Youth, NIN, Merzbow, TV On The Radio. Lester Bangs called it genius and that above all, this was the greatest album ever made…
hxxp://rapidshare.de/files/20944383/LR_MMM.rar
thank you for this thread.

Is this album rare or anything?

sorry if it is a dumb question, I never see it in stores.
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Old 05.17.2007, 05:22 PM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDom
Is this album rare or anything?

sorry if it is a dumb question, I never see it in stores.

I don't know how is it in your country, but during the import fever here in Argentina, the local music store chain called Musimundo brought a lot of copies (probably thinking it was a live album.) This store particularly used to trade CDs if you didn't like them (they realized later it was no business for obvious reasons...) Metal Machine Music could be seen in the store with multiple price stickers one over the other and with badly-shaped packages at just $9 (around three dollars now.)
But still, you can get it in specialized stores (if they want to sell it to you, that is. When I bought my first copy they didn't want to sell it to me because they thought it was garbage. The price was outrageous though...)
I don't know if it answers your question Dom, but you see the status of MMM is somewhat bizarre.
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Old 05.17.2007, 05:55 PM   #79
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musicfallinglikesnow kicks all y'all's assesmusicfallinglikesnow kicks all y'all's assesmusicfallinglikesnow kicks all y'all's assesmusicfallinglikesnow kicks all y'all's assesmusicfallinglikesnow kicks all y'all's assesmusicfallinglikesnow kicks all y'all's assesmusicfallinglikesnow kicks all y'all's assesmusicfallinglikesnow kicks all y'all's assesmusicfallinglikesnow kicks all y'all's assesmusicfallinglikesnow kicks all y'all's assesmusicfallinglikesnow kicks all y'all's asses
Just to clarify things: I think MMM is rad. I really enjoy listening to it. It isn't a generalized opinion (re: my previous post) but still. I think it will be liked here.
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Old 05.18.2007, 04:17 AM   #80
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[quote=dazedcola]
ok on the 93 European tour before they took the stage a strange version of "star spangled banner" is played that has wah wah in it. No its not the Hendrix version. Im curious if its actually the VU playing and if not them then who? Does anyone know know what I'm talking about?
quote]

It is indeed The Velvet Underground who play that. It remains ureleased to this day but it's found on bootlegs of that period. It seems that they just discarded it.
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