The Nomi Song (DVD-2005)
Reviewed by Daniel Severin
is an enigmatic 1980s pop-torch singer who has unfairly been forgotten. Hoping to reclaim the singer’s fame, director
Andrew Horn spent six years working on a documentary about Nomi. One of the first celebrities to die of AIDS, Klaus Nomi fused
classical and pop and glitter and gutter aesthetics. Horn’s film The Nomi Song
has just been released on DVD. Packed with interviews with Nomi’s friends and collaborators, the film gives an intimate
glimpse of one of the strangest stars who ever lived.
traces Nomi’s birth in Germany during World War II and how his childhood obsession with opera inspired the evolution
into a performing alien sent from outer space to save the human race, as his tag-line went. The New Wave art and music scene
in Greenwich Village, New York
City was the perfect destination from which to launch Nomi’s musical career. Nomi quickly gained a cult following and
signed a deal with a major European record label. The catchy tunes and alienated song lyrics struck a chord with listeners,
as did his striking image.
band members, colleagues, and friends fill the viewer in on Klaus Nomi’s unusual music and how his image and persona
developed. Boasting lots of archival footage of concerts and New York in the early ‘80s, the film looks amazing. A very talented team also recreated scenes from Nomi’s past
that influenced his career, such as his devotion to diva Maria Callas.
way ahead of his time, and to show his influence on pop music the DVD presents four remixes of Nomi songs by electronic artists
influenced by Nomi’s work. Other extras on the disc summarize the New Wave musical movement from which Nomi emerged
and give more information on the mesmerizing star.
Horn did an amazing job of acquiring footage and interviewing Nomi associates. The film hints that Nomi is as worthy of homage
as gay music pioneers like Boy George and Marc Almond but strangely leaves out the importance of Nomi’s legacy and his
influence on the pop music of today. Since New Wave-inspired music is now so old-hat that it is used to hawk Big Macs on TV,
the film would be stronger if it included interviews with New York musicians like Scissor Sisters, who cite Nomi as an influence. Ultimately, The
Nomi Song is a valuable introduction to an awesome talent who should have been the Judy Garland of his day.