Friday, June 01, 2007

277. John Cale - Paris 1919

Track Listing

1. Child's Christmas In Wales
2. Hanky Panky Nohow
3. Endless Plain Of Fortune
4. Andalucia
5. Macbeth
6. Paris 1919
7. Graham Greene
8. Half Past France
9. Antarctica Starts Here


Well this was a surprise, if there was something that wasn't expected from John Cale it would be a collection of pleasant poppy tracks. This does not mean that the album is in anyway disappointing, however, but it is far removed form his Velvet Underground days. It is not disappointing because all the tracks here are amazing, some more than other, but in the whole this a pretty nifty album.

The lyrics are good and cultured while being abstract enough not to sound pedantic, the music is deceptively simple and repeated listenings show layers of depth that might not be apparent the first time through. It ends up being a smorgasbord of styles showing Cale's comfort in every one of them. Some tracks are superbly beautiful like Antarctica Starts Here, others are fun and beautiful like the title track, but the whole thing is simply a pleasure to listen to.

Cale shows us that he isn't simply a brilliant arranger and that strings aren't the only thing he can do. His singing voice sounds similar to Brian Eno's, therefore not a great voice, but just like Eno he knows how to use it in order to maximise the power of the music. So you need to get this, a beautiful and bright album which is unique in Cale's repertoire and beyond it. Get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Paris 1919
2. Antarctica Starts Here
3. Child's Christmas in Wales
4. Andalucia

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Cale was born in Garnant in the heavily industrial Amman Valley, and Welsh is his first language. Having discovered a talent for piano, he studied music at Goldsmiths College, the University of London, where he famously stayed in room E14 Raymont Hall (in Brockley). He then travelled to the USA to continue his musical training, thanks to the help and influence of Aaron Copland.

Arriving at New York City, he met a number of influential composers. With John Cage and several others, Cale participated in an 18-hour piano-playing marathon that was the first full-length performance of Erik Satie's "Vexations". More significantly, Cale played in La Monte Young's ensemble the Theater of Eternal Music (also known as the Dream Syndicate, which should not be confused with the 1980s band of the same name). The heavily drone-laden music he played there proved to be a big influence in his work with his next group, the Velvet Underground.

Well this has nothing to do with the album, but there's no youtube videos which are halfway decent, there is a cover by Final Fantasy but both the image and sound are fucked... so you get Ship of fools with John Cale, Chrissie Hynde and Nick Cave:

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