23 of 32 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Marble Index (Audio CD)
This is one of the greatest albums of the Sixties- though it sounds out of time, a fractured plain of dreams and nightmares, medieval and futuristic. 'The Marble Index' is one of those wonderful albums that grow with each listen- it sounds like nothing else. But if you want analogies- think of albums that sound individual and unlike anything else: 'Metal Box', 'Suicide', 'Sulk', 'Get Up With It', 'Star Sailor'...
The late,esteemed music critic Lester Bangs raved over this album- which should be enough to make you want to buy it. Nico had moved on from being Lou's muse- there is nothing here that sounds like 'Femme Fatale' or 'Chelsea Girls'.
According to the recent so-so documentary 'Nico Icon' she had fallen under the influence of Jim Morrison- who had urged her to write songs (Anais to his Henry?). So, Nico wrote the songs here- though far from songs in the conventional sense- John Cale arranged this album- which fuses harmonium with minimal classical music and THAT VOICE.
You may not like this the first time you hear it- like Scott Walker's 'Tilt' or Michael Nyman's 'Zed with Two Noughts' it demands repeated listens. It may seem too out there- but persist- because you WILL come to love this album.
This is one of those night-time albums- much better than anything Lou did solo and the album to listen to before you play John Cale's 'Paris 1919'. This is an extreme album- think about those difficult Tricky albums or a more fractal Bjork or Siouxsie. This sounds like the soundtrack to 'Cabaret' filtered through Blake's 'Heaven & Hell'.
Hard to describe each track, a few do stand out: the sinister 'No One is There', the emotional 'Ari's Song', the spectral 'Evening of Light' and my personal favourite, 'Frozen Warnings'. There are also two extra tracks, 'Roses in the Snow' and 'Nibelungen'. The latter spells out part of Nico's oblique manifesto- the chaos of post-Nazi Germany, the death of her father- the Murnau sense of having no place called home. This album is as rootless as Nico seemed to be...
This is the best Nico album- though 'Chelsea Girl', 'Desertshore' & 'The End' are also worth getting. Nico is still an icon- imagine an avant garde Bardot...at times this feels like the soundtrack to JG Ballard's 'The Atrocity Exhibition': extremity magnified, the close-up burning through your senses.
'The Marble Index' is a masterpiece.