Watch Patti Smith Perform Foreboding Nico Tribute ‘Fearfully in Danger’
Patti Smith, her daughter Jesse Paris Smith and trio Soundwalk Collective have released a new video for their upcoming collaborative album, Killer Road, which reinterprets the songs and poetry of Velvet Underground singer Nico. The haunting "Fearfully in Danger" video was filmed while the collective performed the song live for an audience in Germany.
"This video stems from the concert of Killer Road at Volksbühne Berlin in October 2014, part of a series of concerts that led us to the making of the album," Soundwalk Collective's Simone Merli tells Rolling Stone. "It is a unique piece that combines multiple mediums, field recordings, poetry, acoustic and electronic instruments. The composition was created to give Patti space to improvise and interpret Nico's texts. We want the performances [to] create a sort of sonic vortex that pulls you into an intense but delicate space."
Directed and edited by Barbara Klein, the stark video opens with sounds of waves rolling and receding. The volume builds before harmonium, synthesizer and singing bowl is added into the mix.
"The musical part was created to have a gradual build up of sound, stemming out of the peaceful grounding wash of ocean sounds, with all of us blending our sounds together into something strong and powerful, steadily growing and building into the eventual release," Jesse Paris Smith tells Rolling Stone. "My mom going into song was completely spontaneous and unplanned, letting the sound and words take her somewhere on her own to interpret Nico's words over the foundation of our sound."
Smith, who arranged the song's lyrics, affectingly intones and weaves between singing, spoken word and whispering as she traverses Nico's words, which were originally recorded for Nico's final album, Camera Obscura. "On a dusty road you fit, fearfully in danger," Smith sings somberly, setting the foreboding tone. "The intentions of my attitude have mastered the adventure."
Killer Road will be released on September 2nd via Sacred Bones. It follows the unveiling of the video for title track "Killer Road." The album is a tribute to Nico, which also explores her final moments via its haunting soundscapes. Nico, born Christa Päffgen, suffered a heart attack while riding her bike on the Spanish island of Ibiza in 1988. She was found and taken to the hospital, only to pass away later that evening.