Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop & Anika present Nico: Desertshore

Anika has re-sung Nico's album "Desertshore" together with the soloist ensemble Kaleidoskop


Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop and Anika present Nico: Desertshore. Oscillating between closeness and dissociation from the melancholy of the 1970s original, the ensemble sets out to reinterpret the infamous solo album, along with singer, poet and artist Annika Henderson aka Anika – one of experimental pop's most intriguing voices, whose music roams between dub, psychedelic and post punk.

Together with Anika, composers Grégoire Simon and Paul Valikoski – both musicians in the ensemble – weave Desertshore’s motifs into compositions of their own. The music, lyrics and atmosphere of Nico’s album act as a substrate for a deeper musical exploration of death, transience and isolation.

Nico’s melancholic and deeply personal solo album Desertshore is considered one of the most influential albums of avant garde-pop music, yet it is still only mostly known to insiders. Stylistically, this cycle of amorphous songs about the longing for death, lies somewhere between gothic, folk-rock and dark romantic song cycles. Together, Nico’s unique voice and John Cale’s experimental arrangements created an album that has become a cult classic over the years.

Simon and Valikoski seize this tense and fragile atmosphere, interpolating it with a newly composed overture as well as closing section, creating a new musical story. They work between the poles of orchestral grandeur and minimalist structures, combining reiterations and layerings of musical material, interweaving motifs and continuing folk elements of the original album. The record’s sombre – almost exclusively low-pitched and minor – moods are contrasted with a tonally ambiguous composition in higher registers. Together with Anika’s composition Earth Under My Feet as an interlude, swaying between song and spoken word, they form a soundscape that not only comments on the Desertshore album but also takes it to a musical world and atmosphere of its very own.

Programme Text

Nico is one of the most enigmatic figures in pop history. She was once described as the “Sphinx of Ice.” Her wistful songs are still fascinating 35 years after her death. Now, singer Annika Henderson, who performs under the name Anika, has re-recorded Nico’s album Desertshore, together with the soloist ensemble Kaleidoskop. The spartan accompanying music was transcribed for a string ensemble. Everything seems more open, lighter, more spiritual this way, but no less profound: in this new interpretation, it is as if we delved deep into Nico’s unconscious.

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