The Gates of Edam are swinging closed here at WMMCM after a long and arduous journey through all that the Apocalypse has to offer for your listening pleasure. Beyond the river Styx the ferryman must be smiling at least slightly as we have made it clear we will trouble him no more so he can go back to his private skate party with Leo Sayer and Richard Simmons.
To keep in the spirit of the event I do need to make a quick faint back towards the river with one final entry into the Gates of Edam. There is one man who spent his entire career challenging convention in every way imaginable musically, vocally and stylistically. (As well as a few ways nobody could have possibly come up with.)
That man can only be…
Yes, the one and only Klaus Nomi who was so different from anything else that has ever happened musically, that rules weren’t even considered.
Nomi’s personae is a bizarre mixture of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” combined with something that escaped from Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” and is equally theatrical. At first glance, or certainly first listen, it’s very easy to brush Nomi off as a joke. That however would be a mistake.
Now Klaus Nomi is certainly not for everyone or even most people but I’ve always enjoyed the total commitment in what Nomi was doing.
“Total Eclipse” is not really what you would expect from a guy that looks like Klaus did. Then again I can’t really imagine what a person would expect when getting that first view of Klaus. But as you can see from the video, for all his outrageous looks and strange costumes, Nomi was a serious artist. Look at the back-up band, they’re quite serious about providing Klaus with some solid musicianship.
“Big shots argue about what they’ve got making the planet so hot, hot as a holocaust.
Blow up, everything’s gonna go up even if you don’t show up in your Chemise Lacoste.”
Vocally? Well yes, vocally Klaus was a bit different. How could he not be? He was Klaus Nomi after all. With his low tenor German accented voice he actually can be a bit much to understand. That’s part of the fun with Nomi. Then – if you’ve never experienced Klaus Nomi before – he really hits you with his high contralto like upper range which mysteriously looses most of it’s German accent.
“Total eclipse, it’s a total eclipse, it’s a total eclipse of the sun.
Can’t come to grips with the total eclipse Just a slip of the lips and you’re done.”
In Nomi’s “Total Eclipse” it seems that it’s not really an eclipse in the proper sense. It’s more like the warm glow of a nearby nuclear explosion. You may as well dance and have a good time before “turning in to French fries.”
Delivered with an intense seriousness while looking like… Well, Klaus Nomi, (I don’t think there really are proper words to descibe him,) it’s actually a lot more powerful and even more fun then you might have imagined.
Klaus Nomi was one of a kind indeed. But never a joke.