Nico - The End

Nico's 1973 album, The End, was her fourth release. It was her fifth collaboration with John Cale and third with him as producer, and the result was her darkest, most caustic work yet. It carried the same organic, harmonium-based gothic music heard on The Marble Index and Desertshore, but went one step further with the addition of Brian Eno's synthesizers and electronics. The mix of Nico's gloomy, hypnotic melodies and Eno's synthetic droning, as heard on "Innocent and Vain", produced an atmosphere of brooding apocalyptic destruction. Other songs that aren't as violently dramatic have a lingering distortion to them. "You Forgot To Answer" tells of the misery felt when she failed to reach ex-lover Jim Morrison by phone only to find out later that he had died. It's a simple mix of her vocals, Phil Manzanera's guitar, Cale's piano and Eno's synthesizer death-moans. The sound conjures up the Weimar Republic, with melodies reminiscent of Kurt Weill and angular, distorted electronics symbolic of Expressionism.

All but two of the songs on the album were written by Nico: a cover of the Doors' "The End" and the German national anthem "Das Lied der Deutschen", which has been considered by some critics as the most significative interpretation of a national anthem since Hendrix's rendition to his country's hymn in Woodstock, 1969. In retrospect, The End is a precursor to ultra-leftfield acts, such as Death In June and subsequently the neofolk movement, that blend European folk and classical with cutting-edge electronic experimentation.

The End is Nico's most uncompromising record and has become a signature of her work.

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