Reich Der Traume (Raritaten Teil I)

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Among the many supposed "rarities" collections that litter Nico's discography, Reich Der Traume intrigues in that it has no chronological or stylistic form whatsoever, but nevertheless hangs together in a way that renders it a fascinating sweeping-up of the lady's odds and ends. The title track, although presented in a so-called "trance" version, is simply a remix of a cut Nico recorded in 1976 with Lutz Ulbrich; elsewhere, a couple of studio demos and one U.K. radio session ("Saeta") capture Nico where she is at her most powerful, in the studio. The live recordings that consume the remainder of the disc are rougher and rawer, hewn not so much from a joy of performance as from a need to earn some extra money to fund her lifestyle of the time -- she isn't quite on autopilot, because many of the performances here are as spellbinding as they ought to be. But few Nico live recordings truly capture her at her very best, and these are no exception. That said, the collector will find a handful of tracks that would slip straight onto the imaginary box set that we have all compiled in our minds ("Mutterlein" is a prime example) and, although a better rarities collection could certainly be created by simply digging into the real rarities, this has enough high spots to at least begin scratching the itch.

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