Tuesday, 10 January 2012

An absolute outsider

"Pastry chef turned rule-breaking cabaret act. Backing singer turned striking solo artist. Visionary pop star Klaus Nomi took New York's East Village by storm in the 1980s. Reacting against the ordinariness of punk and disco, Nomi produced a never before seen brand of entertainment with synthesized covers of music from Henry Purcell to Marlene Dietrich."
Klaus Nomi was unique, that is certain. On his emergence into the more-than-embracing Blitz Kids/New Romantic scene in the UK in 1981, he caused a storm of acclaim, awe, and downright confusion. His talents were recognised early on by the likes of David Bowie and, following his sad and untimely death of AIDS-related complications in '83, his legacy lived on with tributes from such geniuses as Man Parrish, Morrissey, Nina Hagen and Marc Almond, and more recently Ana Matronic (of the Scissor Sisters).

I adore him.

The latest panegyric to Mr Nomi's music is an orchestral treatment arranged by composer Olga Neuwirth - "to recreate the spirit of this groundbreaking artist and the times in which he lived" - with the London Sinfonietta and countertenor Andrew Watts. This fascinating concept (an extract of which is in the video above) premieres in London at Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank on 11th February 2012. I may well get a ticket...

Here is the late, dearly departed Klaus Nomi himself, with the most chilling rendition of Dido's Lament you will ever need to hear:

His classic Total Eclipse:

And here, rare early footage of his appearance on French TV performing Cold Song:

"I approach everything as an absolute outsider. It is the only way I can break so many rules."

Klaus Nomi (24th January, 1944 – 6th August, 1983)

The Nomi Song, a brilliant documentary feature film devoted to the life of Klaus Nomi.


  1. He was the nicest guy. I used to see him a lot when I lived in the East Village, NY. I even have an autographed picture of him.

  2. I would love to have met him... Jx


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