No update yesterday due to network faults. Sorry about that. To make up, here are a couple of tracks for you.
First up is Nico's Janitor of Lunacy
from her 1970 album Desertshore
. It's a record that often gets overlooked, partly because it's not The Marble Index
and partly because, well, many of Nico's songs sound pretty similar. On the surface, Janitor of Lunacy
is no different: it's a dirge accompanied by her rolling, droning harmonium sung in that astonishingly stark, blank voice of hers. But Nico was a performer who turned her limitations into strengths. As a singer, she had a very narrow range and only one intonation, but put that to the service of a song about the loss of a friend (in this case, former Rolling Stone Brian Jones) and its incantatory simplicity is exactly what is needed.
A cover of Desertshore
was also the last project that the various members of Throbbing Gristle worked on. When Genesis P-Orridge left the band they renamed themselves X-TG, but Peter Christopherson died only a few weeks later. Cosey Fanny Tutti and Chris Carter went on to finish the album with a roster of guest vocalists, and their take on Janitor of Lunacy
is sung by Antony Hegarty. Given its history, this version of the song is often seen as a posthumous tribute to Christopherson, and if it is then it's a fine one. It's a much richer palette than the original, a deep sonic pool full of rippling lights. This is a completely different take on the original's desperate sorrow, one that works only because of Hegarty's extraordinary fluid falsetto bringing the pain.
What remains the same in both these recordings however is the common dignity. There are no histrionics in death to be found here. This is death in retrospect, after the its awful toll has been paid. For them to still sound so devastating is a difficult thing to accept. Approach with caution, please.Nico - Janitor of Lunacy(alt)X-TG - Janitor of Lunacy(alt)