After the sparse orchestration of the avant-classical The Marble Index, Nico and producers John Cale and Joe Boyd decided to frequently feature her harmonium front and center as a wall of sound and include other instrumentation in ornamental touches. At just less than 30 minutes, the album still feels complete due to the performances' intensity. Nico's music would eventually become a major influence on gothic and post-punk groups, but in 1970 it was clearly out of step with the singer/songwriter scene. She sings two songs in German while her son, Ari Boulogne, sings "Le Petit Chevalier" in French. For English-speaking listeners, it gives the album an additional "foreign" quality (which is already in effect due to its disregard for Anglophile-based pop). The soothing drone behind "Janitor of Lunacy," "The Falconer," and "Abschied"—plus the sparse naked vocal performance of "My Only Child" and the dark piano ballad "Afraid"—make Desertshore a challenging listen for some, but for those attuned to its beauty, it's an album of great depth and appeal. 

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