Vitamin String Quartet

The String Quartet Tribute to the Velvet Underground + Nico

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Vitamin's The String Quartet Tribute to the Velvet Underground + Nico follows a formula similar to the label's numerous other releases in this niche genre, but it has the curious effect of rendering the Velvets' music in an even more decadent light. The musicians -- violinists, violists, and cellists, with finger cymbals and mandolin adding occasional color -- have chosen some of the band's darkest material for their tribute, including "Venus in Furs," "I'm Waiting for the Man," and "I'll Be Your Mirror." But here's "Heroin," beginning with cello strings plucked, and surging forth with violin and a solitary tom-tom. And the song's sway is surprisingly sweet. But then it shifts gears just like the original, and the instruments seem to tumble over each other in a mad, chaotic, and beautiful rush. "Black Angel's Death Song," too, seems guided by something dark on its shoulder. This is chamber music for a gothic cocktail party, where the red wine flows and the meat is rare. Highly recommended for VU completists.

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