Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

8. NicoDesertshore

Desertshore is the most perfect Nico album for me. I feel like Nico really challenges John Cale, with all of that classical musical knowledge, to be as blunt as she is. There’s a real order to the album; there isn’t much chaos in it. Nico embraces a darkness, and when I sit with her music I can acknowledge and embrace and accept this. I love that she’s got [her son] Ari singing on it too, because there’s nothing more beautiful than a child’s voice.

I’m very glad that Nico exists and I think that she’s done so much work in pursuit of art in such an unbelievingly uncompromising way. I think she played Cardiff supporting Siouxsie Sioux and got booed off by the punks. I’m so embarrassed about that. I can’t imagine how intense her performances would have been. I can’t imagine how radical she would have been in her age as well, considering how restrictive gender roles would have been. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to realise it, but my inner goth has always been there. Although it’s a really stark album Desertshore is an emotional expression of life through music that is really im-portant to me. It’s a clichéd thing, but you can really find light in darkness.

I can’t imagine what Nico would have been like to work with — she’s so stoic. But I think she challenges John Cale on the recordings in a very focused way and the album is all the better for it. Everything is considered sonically and it’s so thoroughly thought out and explored and that’s what makes it perfect.

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