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Klaus Sperber known under a stage name as Klaus Nomi was a countertenor born in Germany and spent the last years of his life in New York City. He was once a backing singer for David Bowie. He died in 1983 and almost reached the age of 40 before being one of the first celebrities to die from AIDS. He was known for being rather eccentric and very theatrical with his work. Insisting on wearing heavy make-up and being experimental. Klaus Nomi's music is commonly tagged as New Wave and experimental. There's a lot of influences from a lot of genres in his music and I'm not sure if New Wave will fully describe him as he uses huge elements of theatrical pop, with some mild rock vibes and the classical elements in his vocals. If you love Lady Gaga, then you may love this, but a lot of his fans seem to be offended when you mention Lady Gaga and Klaus Nomi in the same sentence.
His self-titled debut album was released in 1981 and produced by Ron Johnson. I really like his voice and I find his vocal range really impressive from the creepy accent to the outstanding high notes. His extensive vocal range shows the huge amount of experiments that have gone towards the album, and I think it's worked very well. What surprised me even more that there wasn't a single track or part of the album that I didn't like, but I can understand that it may be a bit too bizarre for everyone to like.
"The future has begun
Much work has to be done
You're running out of time
Beware the silent sign." - From Keys Of Life
My favourite thing from the album is the mixture of variety. Different tracks can appeal to different music tastes and it's not just limited to one genre. It might make it hard to give a solid music label, but I think the huge variety in the album is a good thing.
The album is a mixture of covers and original written material. But the covers are so original that it gives off an illusion that Klaus had composed the songs by himself. It is a weird album from a weird artist, but it's genuingly out there.
I believe the record is a a bit ahead of it's time because a lot of it sounds very futuristic. For example on the first track, Keys Of Life has a lot of haunting yet tranquil vibes that sounds oddly soothing and sounds like a soprano covering a song from Bjork ten years after it was released. A very mysterious way to start the album that sounds as if he had arrived from another planet.
There are a lot of random and notable mood swings from the album particularly in the vocals. This gives off a nice effect in Lighting Strikes, but doesn't work as well with You Don't Own me. I think it works the best in The Nomi song where the tempo starts slow with lower key vocals and jumps into electronic beats, light guitars and high notes. If I had randomly overheard it on a radio, I would not have imagined that it was a solo artist.
One thing that remains the same throughout the album is how strange it is. I think the most bizarre track on the album is The Twist. The high notes seem to be randomly thrown in, but they still manage to work on the song. The tempo is very slow and the eerie sounds on the background make a lingering impression.
"I can scarcely move,
Or draw my breath,
I can scarcely move,
Or draw my breath." - From The Cold Song
My favourite and most played track on the album is The Cold Song. It's not as odd as the rest of the tracks, but if you don't like classical music or the opera style, you'll still find it odd. I think it's a really beautiful track because I think it shows his vocals at his most rawest and the melodic instruments in the background gave an eerie effect that worked wonders with the song.
Wasting My Time is the most consistent and rememberable. It's catchy in a good way. The lyrics are direct but is a bit too repetitive for me. I get a lot of pop vibes from the song and sounds very much like an 80's track to me, but I think it's aged well. I like the use of guitar riffs on this track and how it gives the track the extra kick.
The album ends off nicely with a stunning vocal performance with Samson And Delilah (Aria). He has wonderful control with his voice and I think the orchestra help made the track even more enjoyable. The ending of the track included a lot of eerie electric sounds that made me think of a spaceship or rocket blasting off, while it represents the album rather nicely, it sort of ruins the grace of the last track.
I did enjoy the album because I thought it had a lot of original elements and found it very thought provoking. I would listen to the album again and it makes me want to buy some of his other albums. I would recommend it if you want to try something new.
1) Keys Of Life - "From ancient worlds I come to see what man has done." 5/5
2) Lightning Strikes - "Listen to me, baby, it's time to settle down. Am I asking too
much for you to stick around? " 5/5
3) The Twist - "Come on humans, let's do the twist." 5/5
4) Nomi Song - "If they saw my face, could I still take a bow?" 5/5
5) You Don't Own Me - "I'm not just one of your many toys." 3/5
6) The Cold Song - "Freeze again to death!" 5/5
7) Wasting My Time - "I'm wasting my time on you!" 5/5
8) Total Eclipse- "It's a total eclipse of the sun." 5/5
9) Nomi Chant - (instrumental) 5/5
10) Samson And Delilah (Aria) - "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix." 5/5
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Keys Of Life
2 Lightning Strikes
4 Nomi Song
5 You Don't Own Me
6 Cold Song
7 Wasting My Time
8 Total Eclipse
9 Nomi Chant
10 Samson And Delilah (Aria)