Nick Drake
Made To Love Magic

Reviewed by: Nick Southall
Reviewed on: 2004-06-03

Posted 06/03/2004 - 12:12:54 PM by scaramouche:
 I think you're being a little harsh. The Drake Myth exists and will continue to do so regardless of whatever the Drake estate does or does not decide to release- he's now a Romantic figure. This image however IS inextricably tied to his music however, it isn't just a societal construct- what makes Drake such a potent figure is the absence of a perceptible personna or guise in his work. Raw, honest and confessional, its not surprising that his destiny is considered perceptible within its landscape. By refusing us closure, the construction of a public delienated persona was inevitable (as it was with cobain 20 years later) Is mythos such a pejorative concept? I don't know. When it detracts from the work? Nick Drake's music was indeed beautiful and uplifting, but with a poignancy that betrays the presence of sadness in the shadows. Its really a question about artistic interpretation, so perhaps the only way to rescue Nick Drakes music is to refuse it easy rest. 'Made to Love Magic' may not be fantastic, but its worthwhile for afficiandos and, if it helps to bring his music back into prominance, then it has fulfilled its purpose. To reduce such a complex character to a litany is a shame, however, Syd will always be crazy, Sid will always be fucked up. Nick will always be doomed. But 'From the Morning is perfect'. Complexity rarely survives death, but his work can and its the best testament- only by digging him up can we save him from history.
Posted 06/03/2004 - 12:59:51 PM by holystoning:
 What scaramouche said, essentially. Of course it's easier to create archetypes. If Nick had been the cruel folkie, then he would have taken someone else's slot; likewise, the tortured under-appreciated troubadour role would go to someone else. We always know too little of our artistic favorites; that is why we fill in the details, that is why we construct our myths. If he were just a man who made some records, then his music would lose a dimension. And truly, we rarely want our records to be issued from locked towers. It may be frustrated to someone who is armed with a few more pieces of Nick Drake's puzzle to confront those satisfied with theirs; however, how you choose to view the man is ultimately meagre no matter how much information you compile. The music can be enjoyed for what it is at face value (and "Northern Sky" is a sweetly content piece - are there others who say otherwise? I thought those sort stopped at "Pink Moon"); biographical tidbits can place them into a context, make them beautiful data. Even if he'd lived to 115, Mr. Drake would be a mystery somewhat, because he is a man.

Of course, I can easily envision myself resisting any attempts to canonize Elliott Smith upon the occasion of his sudden exit. Nick's music is not merely timeless (or atemporal, for the lesser quality stuff); at this point, it is historical. Let history have its due. The fuller picture will win out after all the commercials have stopped airing and all the vaults are empty.

Posted 06/03/2004 - 06:07:52 PM by japann:
Posted 06/04/2004 - 05:39:17 PM by NickSouthall:
 holystoning can you please email me? Thanks.
Posted 07/27/2006 - 11:45:28 AM by Richie_A:
 I'm two years late on this, but I was looking through old reviews and happened across this one, so anyway.. lovely description of what is great about Nick Drake's music, and what's bad about his "myth"... but I really don't agree with your accusation that this release qualifies as "myth making" in any sense.. Your review is entirely about your own preconceptions as to the motives of those compiling the disc and very little about the music itself... The intention that Drake's estate gave for this record was purely to collect all his releasable out-takes and unreleased material in an update of the long-unavailable "Time of No Reply" compilation. If anything, a collection of his leftovers and fragile solo demos should be myth breaking, rather than myth making.. It's testament to Drake's high standards that lots of stuff that didn't make the cut (Joey, Clothes of Sand, Time of No Reply for example) is pretty much as strong as his album releases. In fact I'd contend that your desire for the hissy mono monitor mixes of Black Eyed Dog etc is a kind of preference for the myth over the reality. I just don't see the reason for slamming this disc, it's obviously for people who are already fans and for those people it does a great job of compiling all the bits and pieces out there.. I have the feeling you would have called it a "morbid myth building curio" irrespective of what the CD was actually like.