Album: Nick Drake

Made to Love Magic, Island
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The Independent Culture

Like Tim Buckley, Nick Drake has, in recent years, reached a level of popularity far in excess of anything he achieved during his brief lifetime. This posthumous collection of leftovers, alternate versions and new arrangements - a sort of updated, stand-alone version of the additional disc in the Fruit Tree collected-works box - is a model of how to treat a lost legend, a fourth album fit to stand alongside the three "official" Nick Drake albums. This is largely thanks to the diligence of the arranger Robert Kirby, who has unearthed early recordings from their time together at Cambridge, and added new orchestral arrangements to some tracks - most effectively on "Time of No Reply", to which the orchestration adds a new depth and colour, and a whole new context. Curiously, the same impact is achieved by the absence of orchestration on a newly discovered take of "River Man" featuring just the dark, swirling depths of Drake's precise finger-style guitar picking. Along with the only recently discove

Like Tim Buckley, Nick Drake has, in recent years, reached a level of popularity far in excess of anything he achieved during his brief lifetime. This posthumous collection of leftovers, alternate versions and new arrangements - a sort of updated, stand-alone version of the additional disc in the Fruit Tree collected-works box - is a model of how to treat a lost legend, a fourth album fit to stand alongside the three "official" Nick Drake albums. This is largely thanks to the diligence of the arranger Robert Kirby, who has unearthed early recordings from their time together at Cambridge, and added new orchestral arrangements to some tracks - most effectively on "Time of No Reply", to which the orchestration adds a new depth and colour, and a whole new context. Curiously, the same impact is achieved by the absence of orchestration on a newly discovered take of "River Man" featuring just the dark, swirling depths of Drake's precise finger-style guitar picking. Along with the only recently discovered "Tow the Line", the album includes properly mixed versions of Drake's final four recordings, "Voices", "Hanging on a Star", "Black Eyed Dog" and "Rider on the Wheel", which offer clear indications of Drake's world-weary state at the time: "But take it fast or take it slow/ I must keep up a show/ For the rider on the wheel."

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