This photo of Nico popped up in my Twitter feed because I follow @oldpicsarchive on Twitter. It shows the doomy chaunteuse in 1956, aged 18 or 19, before her roles in La Dolce Vita (1960) and the Velvet Underground (1966-7). Then came heroin. What a difference a decade makes.
Her second solo album The Marble Index was produced by John Cale and released in 1969. I bought it because nobody else did and so within months it was $1.99. And I thought, maybe you can judge an LP by its cover. I was right – it is one of my all-time favourites. Harmonium, viola, doom and gloom. Ben Tweddell thinks so too. Quote unquote:
The shimmering collage of sound imposed across the canvas of her songs by John Cale plunge the listener into a sonic journey, “a voyage through strange seas, alone,” sometimes disconcerting, but never, as often described, harrowing — always contemplative and always beautiful. The songs seem suspended in time, detached from the tumultuous years of its creation, the last years of the 1960s.So here is The Marble Index, complete: